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A Humanities Journal for Medicine 
and the Health Sciences 

150 Years of Collecting Medical History 
at the Smithsonian Institution 


Digitized by the Internet Archive 

in 2011 with funding from 

CARL!: Consortium of Academic and Research Libraries in Illinois 


A Humanities journal for Medicine and the Health Sciences 
Volume 13 ♦ Numbers ♦ Winter 1997 


150 Years of Collecting Medical History 
at the Smithsonian Institution 

2 Introduction 

Ramunas Kondratas, Guest Editor 

13 From Stethoscopes to Artificial Hearts 
Judy M. Chelnick 

20 Ophthalmology-Optometric Collections 
Katherine Ott 

23 Medical Imaging 
Ramunas Kondratas 

27 Toothkeys to Prosthodontics 
Philip D.Spiess II 

33 The Pharmacy Collections 
Diane L. Wendt and Eric W. Jentsch 

43 Scientific Medicines 
Ramunas Kondratas 

49 Public Health Collections 
Patricia Peck Gossel 

53 Laboratory Apparatus 
Patricia Peck Gossel 

56 Molecular Medicine: Collecting a Revolution in Progress 
G. Terry Sharrer 

60 A Select Bibliography 
Philip D. Spiess II 

68 Contributors 

69 Picture Credits 

Published by the Department 
of Medical Humanities 
Southern Ilhnois University 
School of Medicine 


Johns. Haller, Jr., £rf(tor 
Phillip V. Davis, Deputy Editor 
Jean L. Kirchner, Managing 

Mary Ellen McEUigott, 

Managing Editor 
Sarali L. Peters, 

Editorial Aaistant 

Department ot Medical 

Theodore R. LeBlang, Chair 
M. Lynne Cleverdon, 

Assistant to the Chair 
Barbara Mason, Curator. 

The Pearson Museum 
Jean L. Kirchner, 

Subscription Manager 

Copyright 1997 by the Board of 
Trustees of Southern Illinois 
University. ISSN No. 0882-7447 

The uUenvr o/Thc IH'JO's Amcncan Drug S>\.ove, featuring the elegant wood and stained-glass Victorian-era fixtures 
from the Roche Dnig Company of Washington, D.C. 


150 Years of 
Medical History at 
the Smithsonian 

Ramunas Kondratas, Guest Editor 

In 1996, the Smithsonian Institution 
celebrated its 150th anniversary. 
Founded with funds provided by the 
bequest of James Smithson (1765-1829), 
the illegitimate son of Hugh Smithson, the 
Duke of Northumberland, and Elizabeth 
Keate Macie, a noblewoman and direct 
descendant of Henry VII, the Institution— 
with its sixteen museums, archives, 
libraries, research institutes, and the 
National Zoo— is the largest museum 
complex in the world.' 

Smithson attended Pembroke College at 
Oxford University (1782-1786), where he 
studied chemistry and mineralogy. A 
serious student, he became a gentleman- 
scientist, much like Thomas Jefferson, and 
worked for a time in the laboratory of 
Henry Cavendish, the discoverer of 
hydrogen. At the young age of twenty-two, 
he was elected a member of the Royal 
Society in London. His greatest contribu- 
tion to science was the discovery and 

CADUCEUS ♦ Winter 1997 ♦ Vol. 13, No. .S 

analysis of a zinc ore that now bears his 
name, sniithsonite. 

His illegitimacy, despite his fortune and 
scientific reputation, precluded him from 
assuming noble status in England. Perhaps 
his deeply felt resentment over that exclu- 
sion and the urge to perpetuate his name 
were in part responsible for his decision to 
write a will that would eventually leave his 
estate, worth about half-a-million dollars 
then and about seven million in today's 
terms, to the United States, a country he 
never saw. In his will, Smithson left his 
estate to a nephew, Henry James 
Hungerford. If Hungerford died childless, 
however, the entirety of the estate was to 
go to the United States "to found at 
Washington, under the name of the 
Smithsonian Institution, an Establishment 
for the increase and diffusion of knowl- 
edge among men."- That was all of the 
instructions or explanation Smithson gave! 

Smithson died in 1829. His nephew died 
without heirs in 1835, and Smithson's 
bequest was announced to Congress 
shortly thereafter. Over the next decade, 
senators and representatives debated 
whether to accept the bequest and for what 
the money should be used. Some 
envisioned a national university or an 
agricultural institute. Others wanted to 
establish a national library or an astronom- 
ical observatory. One idea shared by many 
was the establishment of a national 
museum. Finally, on August 10, 1846, the 
Twenty-Ninth Congress passed the bill of 
incorporation for the Smithsonian 
Institution, which contained few specific 
provisions except those for a home for the 
"natural history collections, a chemical 
laboratory, a library, a gallery of art, and 
the necessary lecture-rooms."^ These were 
the seeds from which the current institu- 
tion grew. 

The Board of Regents— composed of the 
Vice-President, the Chief Justice, three 
senators, three House members, the mayor 
of the District of Columbia, and six 
citizens at large— elected Joseph Henry, a 
physicist from Princeton University, the 
first secretary of the Smith-sonian 
Institution. The young architect James 
Renwick Jr., who later designed St. 
Patrick's Cathedral in New York, received 
the commission for the first building, the 
red sandstone, Norman-style "Castle" that 
now serves as the Smithsonian administra- 
tive headquarters. 

Henry was primarily interested in 
promoting American science, and thus he 
devoted most of his energies to the 
"increase" of knowledge by emphasizing 
scientific research. His legacy lives on in 
the scientific work currently being 
conducted throughout the various research 
institutes of the Smithsonian, including the 
National Museum of Natural History, the 
Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, 
the Center for Earth and Planetary Studies 
of the National Air and Space Museum, 
the National Zoological Park, the 
Smithsonian Environmental Research 
Center, the Smithsonian Center for 
Materials Research and Education, and the 
Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute. 

Henry also recruited staff with interest 
in the sciences and education. One of his 
most fortunate choices was Spencer 
Fullerton Baird, who joined the 
Smithsonian in 1850 as assistant secretary. 
A naturalist and an avid collector, Baird 
was more dedicated to the "diffusion" of 
knowledge, and he directed his efforts to 
educating the public through displays of 
collected materials. Moreover, he recruited 
hundreds of volunteers who acted as 
associates and agents for the Smithsonian's 
small permanent staff of curators and 

4 150 Years of (Collecting Medical History 

clerks. Through such networks, artifacts 
and specimens flowed in to the 
Smithsonian, mostly from western explo- 
rations, and the natinal history specimen 
collection quickly grew to about 150,000 

In 1857 the Smithsonian received the 
government collections that were held in 
the Patent Office Building. Those, together 
with the thousands of specimens brought 
to Washington by Baird, formed the early 
core of the Smithsonian collections. The 
United States National Museum, adminis- 
tered by the Smithsonian Institution and 
funded separately by Congress through the 
Department of the Interior, was created in 

Smithsonian Forebears 

The idea for a national museum, of course, 
predates Baird. Other countries had 
national museums. The first public muse- 
um of natural science and art in the 
United States was Peale's Museum, found- 
ed in Philadelphia in 1785 by Charles 
Willson Peale. Other public museums were 
established in the early nineteenth century 
in Baltimore, Boston, Cincinnati, and New 
York. But there was no "official" museum 
for the United States. Natural history 
objects acquired by the government— many 
collected by such western explorers as 
Lewis and Clark— were sent to Peale's 
Museum, the American Philosophical 
Society (also in Philadelphia), or the Patent 
Office Building in the Capital. 

When the Smithsonian was in its 
infancy, there was even another institution 
in Washington vying for the title of 
"national museum." The Columbian 
Institute for the Promotion of Arts and 
Sciences, privately established in 1816 as 
the Metropolitan Society but chartered by 
Congress two years later under the new 

Curators of the Division of iVIedical Sciences 


Dr. James H. Flint 


Dr. Henry Gustav Beyer 


Dr. James H. Flint 

Nov. 1891-April6, 1892 

Dr. John C. Boyd, USN 

April, 1892-Jan. 5, 1893 

William C. Dixon, USN 

Jan. 1893-July 15, 1893 

Dr. C. H. White, USN 

July, 1893-Jan. 22, 1894 

Dr. C. U. Gravatt 

Jan. 1894-June 15, 1894 

Dr. R. A. Marmion 

June 1894-May24, 1895 

Medical Inspector Daniel McMurtrie 

May 1895-1912 

Dr. James H. Flint 

Feb. 1913-Aug. 16, 1917 

Aug. 1917-Feb. 1, 1918 

Mr. Joseph Donne 

April 2, 1918-1948 

Dr. Charles Whitebread 


George S. Thomas 


George B. Griffenhagen 


Dr. John Blake 


Dr. Sami K. Hamarneh 


Dr. Audrey B. Davis 


Dr. Ramunas Kondratas 


Dr. Barbara Melosh 

name, had as its purpose "to collect and 
examine the various mineral productions 
and natural curiosities of the United 
States."^ Members of that first learned 
society set up a cabinet of minerals and a 
museum of "miscellaneous articles." After 
years of decline, the members reorganized 
in the 1840s as the National Institution for 
the Promotion of Science and the Useful 
Arts, later renamed the National Institute. 

Under the leadership of Joel Poinsett, 
who as an amateur naturalist (after whom 
the poinsettia was named) as well as the 
Secretary of War under President Martin 
Van Buren, the National Institute helped 
organize the Charles Wilkes expedition to 
the South Seas (1838-1842), the first feder- 

Ramunas Kondratas 5 

ally-sponsored maritime exploration, and 
requested funds to create a museum of 
natural history to accommodate the speci- 
mens from the expedition. The Wilkes 
collection included ten thousand species of 
plants, five hundred of birds, and more 
than five hundred of fishes. Even James 
Smiihson's own cabinet of minerals was 
entrusted by the government to the 
National Institute. 

The National Institute was divided into 
several sections, including the Section on 
Physiology and Medicine, which was 
attended by local physicians and others 
interested in medical and scientific 
research.^ It was thus one of the early 
medical associations in Washington. (The 
first was the Medical Society of the District 
of Columbia, which was founded in 1817 
on the model of the Medical and 
Chirurgical Faculty of Maryland begun in 
1798 and chartered by President James 
Monroe in 1819.) The National Institute 
was dissolved in 1861, and its collections 
turned over to the Smithsonian. 

Beginning of the Medical Collections 

Natural history was the primary collecting 
interest of the Smithsonian in the early 
years. But there was a growing interest in 
the medical sciences, as well. In 1873, 
Joseph M. Toner, a leading Washington 
physician, bibliophile, and philanthropist, 
provided funds to the Smithsonian for 
what he called the Toner Lectures, the pur- 
pose of which was to advance medical sci- 
ence. Perhaps Toner was inspired by the 
lectures sponsored by the old Section on 
Physiology and Medicine at the former 
National Institute. Only ten Toner 
Lectures were given from 1873 to 1890. 

The biggest boost to the Smithsonian 
holdings came after the closing of the 
extravagant 1876 Centennial Exhibition in 

Philadelphia and the transfer of numerous 
exhibits, local and foreign, to the United 
States National Museum. Several dozen 
freightcars were necessary to transport the 
objects to Washington. Most could not fit 
into the Castle building and had to be 
stored off-site. Among the objects were 
about six hundred crude drug specimens, 
which had been specifically collected by 
the Chinese Imperial Customs Commission 
for the Centennial Exhibition. These speci- 
mens marked the beginning of the medical 
collection at the Smithsonian. They 
became part of a new and very active 
Section of Materia Medica, begun in 1881 
in the Department of Anthropology. 

The impressive collections from the 
Centennial Exhibition prompted Congress 
to authorize a new Arts and Industries 
Building to house the U.S. National 
Museum. At Henry's death in 1878, Baird 
was named secretary and thereafter 
oversaw construction of the facility. It was 
first used on March 4, 1881, for the 
inaugural ball of President James GaiTield. 

The Section of Materia Medica was 
sponsored and supervised by the U.S. 
Navy in cooperation with the Smithsonian. 
The first curators were Navy doctors inter- 
ested in pharmacology and pharmacog- 
nosy: their assistants, or clerks, were 
Smithsonian employees. James M. Flint 
(1838-1919), an Assistant Surgeon of the 
U.S. Navy and later a Rear Admiral, was 
the first curator of the medical collections; 
his work and interests set the tone for the 
next twenty-five years. His emphasis was 
first on sorting, examining, identifying, 
and classifying the various plants, 
minerals, and animal parts that were used 
in preparing medicines. Eventually, that 
information was made available to the 
medical profession and the public through 
museum displays. It was just as important 

6 150 Years of Collecting Medical History 

Among the many displays of crude drugs in the Ayts and Industries Building at the turn oj the twentieth century 
was this one on cinchona, which is the source of quinine for the treatment of malaria. The exhibit label reads: 
"This case is arranged to demonstrate the numerous medicinal substances obtained from one member of the vegetable 
kingdom. The bark of the Cinchona tree contributes the alkaloids and alkaloidal salts shown, which are 
administered as such or as the ingredients of pharmaceutical preparations. " 

then, as it is now, to educate the pubHc 
about how and of what medicines are 

A visitor to the Museimi in 1897 left this 
description of the displays of crude drugs: 

Specimens of medical forms and crude drugs 
in all varieties, commercial and botanical, 
represent the article as samples found in the 
markets, and these are supplemented by rare 
samples having notable peculiarities. Each 
specimen has its label giving special and 

condensed information, such as scientific and 
vernacular name, source, commercial variety, 
and other brief facts, and each group of speci- 
mens, arranged under one head, has a similar 
descriptive card. A colored plate of the plant 
from which it is derived is displayed with each 
crude drug, also a pressed and dried specimen 
of the flowering plant. Sections and magnified 
drawings, with a view to assist in identification 
and show physical characters, add to the 
completeness and accuracy of the exhibits; 
while official drugs and preparations and those 
not official nor found in any pharmacopeia, 

Ramunas Kondratas 7 

but which are or have been used as medica- 
ments, help to complete the display.'' 

Largely due to Flint's efforts, the 
Smithsonian's collection of crude drugs, 
which eventually grew to about fifteen 
thousand specimens, was among the best 
in the world. 

Flint realized that crude drugs were just 
a part of the larger field of medicine— or 
the "healing arts"— and that it was both 
proper and necessary to collect and display 
other "materials and methods used for the 
prevention and cure of disease."^ The 
scope of collecting was thus enlarged to 
include materials relating to folk medicine, 
faith cures, ancient medicine, preventive 
medicine or public health, and physical 
medicine (including baths, exercise, 
electricity, massage, bloodletting, and 
surgery). The name of the Section of 
Materia Medica was changed to the 
Division of Medicine in 1898 to reflect the 
broader scope. 

Flint's approach to collecting and 
display, although more historical, was still 
very anthropological, in keeping with the 
tenor of the rest of the museum and the 
academic world at that time. Exhibits were 
added on folk medicine, Egyptian and 
Hebrew medicine, Greco-Roman medicine, 
psychic medicine, and other related topics. 

The Division did not collect anatomical 
and pathological specimens, however. Such 
items were under the purview of the Army 
Medical Museum, also in Washington, 
which was established in 1862 to collect 
specimens of morbid anatomy and 
pathology from the battlefields of the Civil 

Growing Importance of Pharmacy and Public 
Health Collections 

Fliiu's cominitment to pharmacy was 

upheld by his successor, Charles 
Whitebread (1877-1963), a veteran 
Smithsonian curator who earned a doctor- 
al degree in pharmacy from the George 
Washington University School of Pharmacy 
in 1911, when he became curator in 1918. 
Over Whitebread's thirty-year administra- 
tion of the Division, he vigorously expand- 
ed holdings in the history of pharmacy, 
alternative medicine (especially homeopa- 
thy and osteopathy), and public health. 
The pharmacy collections grew beyond 
crude drugs to include the equipment used 
in their manufacture and sale. One of his 
most outstanding acquisitions was the 
exceedingly large and rich E. R. Squibb & 
Sons Collection of European pharmaceuti- 
cal artifacts (see sidebar, page 37). 

The need to educate the public about 
such pressing health concerns as pure 
water and milk, proper waste disposal, 
disease transmission by insects and 
animals, oral hygiene, and prenatal and 
postnatal care led to the opening of the 
Hall of Health (or Public Health Gallery) 
in 1924. That expanded interest in public 
health education, in keeping with the 
broader national movement for the New 
Public Health, resulted in another name 
change for the Division in 1939: the 
Division of Medicine and Public Health. 

Whitebread's successors kept the 
collecting scope of the Division broad, 
covering most of the major areas of the 
health sciences as they developed or 
emerged. There were some differences in 
emphasis depending on the particular 
interests of the curators, but the most 
marked differences appeared in the interpre- 
tation and presentation of the collections. 

Curators George S. Thomas (1948- 
1952), George Griffenhagen (1952-1959), 
Sami Khalaf Hamarneh (1961-1975), and 
Museum Specialist Michael Harris 

8 150 Years of Collecting Medical History 

The Search for Life: Genetic Technologies in the 20tJi Century exhibition (1987) explored the DNA revolu- 
tion launched by James Watson and Francis Crick. At center are several brass base pair templates used in their 
original DNA modfl. On the left, is a photograph of Watson and Crick with their model and, on the right, 
photographs of other key contributors to the story of the double helix, such as Rosalind Franklin and Maurice 

(1970-1996) all were trained pharmacists 
and historians of pharmacy. They made 
sure that the most salient developments in 
the history of pharmacy, including its 
material legacy, were collected and 
documented. As a result, the Smithsonian 
pharmacy collections are unequalled in the 

John Blake was the first trained historian 
of medicine to become a division curator. 
He joined Griffenhagen in 1957 and 
helped to conceptualize and plan major 
medical history displays. The U.S. National 
Museum was reorganized in that year into 
two parts: the Natural History Museum 
and the Museum of History and 

Technology. The Division title changed 
from the Division of Medicine and Public 
Health to the Division of Medical Sciences. 
Planning began for a new Museum of 
History and Technology. In 1964 the 
medical collections were moved out of the 
Arts and Industries Building into the new 
building, where many were showcased in 
the Hall of Medical Sciences. The building 
was designated the National Museum of 
History and Technology in 1969. 

The presentation of objects in the Hall 
of Medical Sciences, which was divided 
into large sections on health, medicine, 
dentistry, and pharmacy, was in sharp 
contrast to the primarily linear and two- 

Ramunas Kondratas 9 

The showcase exhibition About Faces: The Postwar Boom in Craniofacial Knowledge (1997) explored hou> the 
application of medical research to everyday life in the past fifty years has changed our perceptions and under- 
standing of the way we look. It featured dental research, plastic surgery and facial prostheses, protective wear, and 
commercial skin products. 

dimensional displays of the old Arts and 
Industries Building. Artifacts were placed 
in large, well-lit cases. Colorful labels and 
images were silkscreened onto the backs 
and sides of the cases, providing additional 
information and context for interpretation. 
Platforms were built for such large objects 
as the pharmaceutical manufacturing 
ecjiiipment. A major innovation was the 
creation of period rooms for a more in- 
depth view of history. Among the most 
memorable were the 1890s American Drug 
Store, the Old World Apothecary Shop, an 
early-twcnlieth-century bacteriology labora- 

tory, a late-nineteenth-centiu)' hospital 
ward illustrating nursing, and reconstruc- 
tiotis of the dental offices of Greene 
Vardiman Black, Edmund Angle, and 
Edmund Kells. Curators Blake and 
Hamarneh were primarily responsible for 
the new installations, which were 
completed in 1966. 

Audrey B. Davis, the first trained histo- 
rian of science specializing in the history 
of medical instrumentation and the first 
woman to serve as curator in the Division, 
was recruited in 1967. I joined her in 1977, 
just after receiving my doctorate in the 


150 Years of Collecting Medical History 

history of science with a particular interest 
in the history of pubhc health. Barbara 
Melosh, a social historian of medicine, 
came aboard in 198'^ and remained with 
the Division until 1991. 

The scope of collecting and interpreta- 
tion expanded to encompass broader areas 
of health and medicine, including the 
contributions of women and minorities to 
medicine, rehabilitation medicine, occupa- 
tional health, psychological testing, nutri- 
tion, contraception, the Public Health 
Service, new imaging modalities (including 
ultrasound, computed tomography, and 
magnetic resonance imaging scanning), 
and the emergence of such new fields as 
molecular biology, genetic engineering, 
and molecular medicine. Thematic 
exhibits supplemented the more tradi- 
tional subject area displays. They included 
Triumph Over Disability (1973), Pain and Its 
Relief {19S3), and Search for Life (1987). 

The Museum of History and Technolog)' 
was renamed the National Museum of 
American History in 1980 and in 1993 
began strategic planning, including a 
redefinition of its mission and eventual 
reorganization. In 1994, the research, 
registration, collections management, and 
preservation functions were combined in 
the Office of Curatorial Affairs. The 
collections documentation, registration, 
and preservation fvmctions were subsumed 
under Collections Management Services. 
The reorganization collapsed eighteen 
curatorial divisions into five under the 
administration of the History Department. 
The medical collections became part of 
the Division of Science, Medicine and 
Society, which also includes the biology 
and physical sciences collections. The 
reorganization helped to bring together 
additional staff interested in the history of 
the health sciences, including G. Terry 

Sharrer and Patricia Peck Gossel, both of 
whom are contributors to this volume. 

Collecting goes apace in many broad 
areas of the health field and with many 
significant acquisitions every year. You will 
get a taste of new as well as old highlights 
in the following articles. And, while the 
Hall of Medical Sciences closed in 1991 to 
make way for the Science in American Life 
exhibit and the Hands-On Science Center, 
the next major exhibit, tentatively titled 
Health in America, should premiere at the 
turn of the millennium. In this way, we will 
carry on the more-than-century-long tradi- 
tion of collecting, preserving, 
documenting, and interpreting our 
nation's medical heritage. 

Editor's Note 

Information on particular objects in this 
introduction, and throughout the volume, 
are from collection records of the 
Smithsonian Institution. 


1. Information about the history of the 
Smithsonian Institution is taken from the sources 
cited in the "General References on {he History of 
the Smithsonian" section of the "Selected 
Bibliography," especially James Conaway's book, 
The Smithsonian: 130 Years of Adventure, Discovery, 
and Wonder. 

2. William J. Rhees, ed. and comp., The 
Smithsonian Institution: Documents Relative to Its 
Origin and History. 1835-1899. 2 vols. (Washington 
D. C: Government Printing Office, 1901), 1:6. 

3. Ibid., 1:432. 

4. Paul H. Oehser, Sons of Science: The Stojy of 
the Smithsonian Institution and Its leaders (New 
York: Henry Schuman, 1949), 66. 

Ramunas Kondratas 1 1 

5. J. M. Toner, Anniversary Oration Delivered 
Before the Medical Society of the District of Columbia, 
September 26, 1866 (Washington, D.C.: 
Cunningham and Mcintosh, 1869), 29-30. 

6. "Materia Medica Collection of the 
Smithsonian Institution," yowmaZ of the American 
Medical Association 28 (1897): 467. 

7. Annual Report of the Board of Regents of the 
Smitlisonian Institution for 1883, p. 190. 

8. Today, known as the Armed Forces Institute 
of Pathoiogy, it is located on the campus of the 
Walter Reed Army Medical Center. The museum 
pan of the Institute has been renamed the 
National Museum of Health and Medicine. From 
1888 to 1955, the Army Medical Museum was 
located on the Mall, next to the Arts and 
Industries Building. For more on the Army 
Medical Museum see Robert S. Henry, The Armed 
Forces Institute of Pathology: Its First Century 1862- 
1962 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing 
Office, 1964), especially p. 59 for early exchanges 
of collections between the Smithsonian and this 

12 150 Years of Collecting Medical History 

Treasures from the Smitluonian's exteiisive collection of bloodletting instruments (from left to right): an eighteenth- 
century thumb lancet and case, an alcohol lamp, a spring lancet, two nipping glasses, and a scarificator. 

From Stethoscopes to Artificial Hearts 

Judy M. Chelnick 

The Smithsonian's large and diverse 
medical collections encompass 
artifacts from the ordinary and mundane 
to the complex and extraordinary. From 
stethoscopes to a complete operating 
theater for open-heart surgery, the collec- 
tion is rich in both objects and supporting 

In 1898, the Smithsonian Institution's 
Annual Report announced the expansion of 
the Section of Materia Medica to the 
Division of Medicine. The goal was "to 
illustrate the history of medicine, or the 

evolution of ideas concerning disease and 
its treatments."' That same year Curator 
James M. Flint walked just a few short 
blocks from the U.S. National Museum to 
the Center Market on Pennsylvania Avenue 
and acquired the first objects for the newly 
named division. 

Within the depths of an old accession 
book, Flint's very precise handwriting 
records each object he "purchased of [a] 
colored woman at Center Market": a 
rabbit's foot amulet, peony roots, horse 
chestnut, scarlet silk, and human hair.^ 

Judy M. Chelnick 13 

This eightee/ilh-d-ntiuy, English-made trephination set was owned and used by Charles McKnight, the Surgeon 
General for the Hospital of the Middle Department during the American Revolution. After the war. McKnight 
taught surgeiy and anatomy at Columbia College in New York City. Photograph by A. Russetti. 

Other early acquisitions were an iron nail, 
cautery iron, leeches, spring lancet, thumb 
lancet, scarificator, and a cupping glass. 
The items reflect both Flint's and the 
Museum's interest in folk medicine, self- 
treatment, and bloodletting, one of the 
most ancient surgical procedures. Over the 
years, the rich bloodletting collection has 
continued to grow, and it includes both 
European and American instrumentation. 
Much of the collection is documented in 
the 1979 publication Bloodletting 
Inslrujrients in the National Museum of 
History and Technology.-^ 

Anesthesiology and Surgery 

New exhibitions provided new opportuni- 
ties to collect. Private individuals, realizing 

the importance of preserving their own or 
their ancestors' contributions and legacies, 
began to donate to the Museum. Artifacts 
from the early days of anesthesiology, for 
example, were given by descendants of 
Crawford W. Long and William J. Morton, 
co-discoverers of inhalation anesthesia. 
Pittsburgh dentist Harry W. Archer gave 
not only anesthesia machines, inhalers, 
and a variety of anesthetics but also the 
memorabilia of Horace Wells, another co- 
discoverer of inhalation anesthesia. 
Archer's gift included a lovely set of water- 
color miniatures of Wells and his wife 

The collection of surgical instrimients 
and surgical sets, many of which are on 
display throughout the Smithsonian, repre- 

14 From Stethoscopes to Artificial Hearts 

sents the evolution of medical technology. 
Among eighteenth-century collections are 
the amputation case and bloodletting set 
used by Charles McKnight (1750-1791), 
the Surgeon-General for the Hospital of 
the Middle Department during the 
American RevoliUion and the surgical set 
that belonged to Colin Mackenzie 
(1775-1827), crafted by J. T. Cassel, one of 
Baltimore's earliest surgical instrument 
makers. A Civil War instrument set 
belonging to [].] B. Cline, manufactured by 
G. Tiemann &: Company of New York, is a 
recent acquisition. 

Another highlight is the superb surgical 
set that belonged to John Maynard 
Woodworth (1837-1879), who served as 
the first Surgeon General of the United 
States Public Health Service from 1871 to 
1879. The six removable trays of the 
rosewood and brass-trimmed case accom- 
modated more than a hundred instru- 
ments. The case was a collaborative effort 
by two of New York City's leading instru- 
ment makers, William F. Ford & Company 
and Shepard and Dudley. 

Health of Mothers and Infants 

More than 150 instruments for the delivery 
of babies are in the Smithsonian's exten- 
sive collection of gynecological and pedi- 
atric equipment. There are two complete 
eighteenth-century French delivery sets as 
well as several nineteenth-century patent 
models for infant bottles. 

More recent artifacts of historical 
interest include an early example of the 
Hess incubator, which was invented in 
1922 by Julian Hess, who established the 
world's first premature infant nursery in 
Chicago. The first phototheraphy unit 
built in the United States (1966) serves to 
illustrate the first controlled study of 
neonatal jaundice. 

Intelligence and Aptitude Testing 

Donations from the University of 
Maryland, Cornell University, and 
Skidmore College make up the major por- 
tion of the Museum's psychological appa- 
ratus collection. The collection has well 
over two himdred artifacts: psychological 
tests (including paper and pencil tests), 
teaching machines, and apparatus for data 
analysis. The collection's strength is the 
formative years of 1910-1940, the time 
when psychologists established themselves 
as authorities with tests for intelligence 
and aptitude. Many of the instruments in 
the collection were made by Max Edelman, 
C. H. Stocking, Max Kohl, and Rudolph 
Koenig, leaders in manufacturing some of 
the finest experimental psychological appa- 
ratus in Europe and the United States at 
the turn of the twentieth century. 


Among the Smithsonian's twentieth-centu- 
ry collections, the cardiology holdings are 
especially significant. The initial acquisi- 
tions date back to 1922, when two sphyg- 
mographs and a sphygmomanometer were 
acquired for exhibition. 

In 1954, when the Second World 
Cardiology Meeting convened in 
Washington, a special Smithsonian exhibi- 
tion commemorated four decades of 
electrocardiology development. The 
exhibit included a contemporary electro- 
cardiogram (EKG) as well as the EKG used 
in the 1930s by cardiologist Frank N. 
Wilson in his pioneering electrocardiog- 
raphy experiments at the University of 
Michigan. Also reflected in the cardiology 
holdings are the groundbreaking achieve- 
ments of Claude S. Beck, George E. Burch, 
Denton A. Cooley, Charles A. Hufnagel, 
and Adrian Kantrowitz. 

Equally important among the names 

Judy M. Chelnick 15 

One ofntany artificial hearts m the cardiology colleclion, this heart pump was 
the first to be implanted in a human on April 4, 1969, by cardiac surgeon 
Denton A. Cooley. 

that appear in the donor file are the physi- 
cians and surgical instrument companies 
who have never made the headlines but 
have preserved their profession's history by 
generously donating the workhorses of 
their trade to the Smithsonian. 

Thanks to such gifts, researchers can 
examine the history of heart valves from 
Hufnagle's first experiments in cardiovas- 
cular surgery in the late 1940s to what has 

become the standard in the industry. 
Likewise, the collection of electrocardio- 
graphs represent the major changes in that 
field, beginning with the first electrocar- 
diograph brought to this country by Alfred 
E. Cohn in 1909 (donated to the 
Smithsonian in 1980 by George E. Burch). 
Additional cardiology collections include 
representative stethoscopes, pacemakers, 
balloon pumps, and teaching models of 
the heart. 

Artificial Organs 

The artifacts receiving the greatest atten- 
tion in recent years have been artificial 
hearts. The Smithsonian has a variety of 
experimental models: the Lindbergh- 
Carrell perfusion pump; the 1952 Dodrill- 
GMR mechanical heart developed at 
General Motors Research Laboratories and 
used to bypass the heart; William Sewell's 
pump for bypassing a dog's right heart, 
which was built from Erector Set parts dur- 
ing his medical student years at Yale 
University; the totally implatitable artificial 
heart used in a calf during the 1969 trials 
funded by the National Heart, Lung, and 
Blood Institute of the National Institutes 
of Health; and a Jarvik-7 heart pump, the 
first device authorized as a bridge to trans- 
plantation for patients awaiting a donor 

The Museum has recently acquired 
another important collection from the 
pioneer of artificial organs, Willem J. 
Kolff. Current holdings include a Kolff- 
Brigham artificial kidney, an early 
hemodialysis machine used at Boston's 
Peter Bent Brigham Hospital, and artificial 
veins, arteries, joints, hips, and numerous 
prosthetic limbs. 


Most of the instruments in the endoscopy 

16 From Stethoscopes to Artificial Hearts 

collection came directly from manufactur- 
ers. The artifacts are closely associated 
with innovative surgeons, including Rudolf 
Shindler (1888-1968), who worked closely 
with instrument makers in Germany and 
the United States to develop a practical 
and safe gastroscope; Chevalier Jackson 
(1865-1958), pioneer in the field of bron- 
choscopy; Leonidas H. Berry, whose 
Gastrointestinal Pan-Endoscopy became a 
classic text; and the team of Basil 
Hirschowitz, Wilbur Peters, and Lawrence 
Curtiss, who invented the fiberscope, the 
first use of fiber optics in medicine. 

The Importance of Documentation 

Curator James Flint wrote in 1905: "The 
value of a museum specimen, as such, is 
largely proportionate to the amount of 
information which accompanies it, and to 
which il directs attention. Therefore, the 
facts regarding the nature, source, mode of 
preparation, attributed virtues, mode of 
use, and attendant ceremonials, together 
with the localities where used, and the 
class of people using it, should be given in 
the fullest possible detail."^ 

Following Flint's advice, museum staff 
continue to collect as much background 
information as possible to document each 
acquisition. Donors are asked for 
supporting documentation related to their 
work as well as to the specific item being 
donated. George Burch, the renowned 
cardiologist and avid collector of medical 
artifacts who seems never to have thrown 
anything out, provides an excellent 
example of the enthusiastic response. 
Along with Cohn's electrocardiograph, 
Burch included original tracings from the 
EKG and a copy of a 1953 letter written to 
him by Cohn reminiscing about the history 
of the instrument. Many of the files, partic- 
ularly those compiled since the 1980s, 

contain a tremendous amount of informa- 
tion. Researchers can often find biogra- 
phies of the inventor, newspaper clippings, 
inventories, professional articles, and 

This brief note, written in 1970 by 
Claude S. Beck after he had retired as 
Professor of Surgery at Case Western 
Reserve University, is preserved in his 
accession file. It is illustrative of the kind 
of donation letters received. 

Dear Sir; 

I have in my possession the defibrillator that 
reversed death in the first human heart. This 
occurred in 1947. This is an historical achieve- 
ment upon which all heart surgery is based. It 
is the basis for reversal of the fatal heart attack. 
If the Smithsonian Institute [sic] cares to accept 
this defibrillator, I shall present it to the 

Artifacts as Teactiing Tools and Art 

One of the most beautiful collections is a 
small but representative set of anatomical 
models. Indeed, even the engraved and 
lithographed charts that accompany the 
intricately detailed, three-dimensional, 
papier-mache and wax models are truly 
works of art. Of importance for both exhi- 
bition and study purposes, the models 
reveal how medicine and biology were 
taught during the nineteenth and early 
twentieth centuries. 

Among these anatomical models are ten 
wax models that were once part of a large 
University of Pennsylvania collection 
assembled about 1850 by Professor of 
Medicine George B. Wood (1797-1879). 
The models portray certain contagious 
diseases and skin conditions once preva- 
lent in the United States, such as cholera, 
syphilis, scabies, chancre, and eczema. The 
models were purchased at auction in 1986 
and include six crafted by the British artist 

Judy M. Chelnick 17 

Elegant papler- 
tiiache anatomical 
TTwdel of the male 
body (55 cm) 
crafted by the 
French model 
maker Louis T.J. 

Joseph Towne (1808-1879), one of the 
most famous wax modelers of the period. 

The Smithsonian is also fortunate to 
have several papier-mache human anatom- 
ical models from the Paris workshop of 
Louis T.J. Auzoux (1797-1880), one of the 
world's leading model makers. Etablisse- 
ment du Docteur Auzoux is still in operation 
today. Among them is a 55cm male 
mannikin (1852), a cross section of an eye 
marked "Auzoux Doct fecit anno 1856," a 
model of a brain and an ear (1888), a 
larynx (1888), and a set of eight uterine 
models with fetus (ca. 1928). 

Auzoux's model of the ear is typical of 
the attention to detail lavished on his 
creations. The ear, for example, is seven 
times the size of a normal ear and was 
purchased directly from the Etablissement 
du Docleur Auzoux in 1975. It is brightly 
painted to highlight all of the blood vessels 
and tissues, and its sections can be disas- 
sembled to show the parts of the inner ear. 

When French zoologists led by Georges 
Cuvier (1769-1832) developed the study of 
comparative anatomy, Auzoux added 
models of animals and plants to his reper- 
toire. The Division of Science, Medicine 
and Society has recently acquired by 
transfer from the National Museum of 
Natural History a series of these extremely 
delicate, almost transparent Auzoux models 
illustrating the anatomy of the bird. The set 
was originally purchased for display at the 
1893 World's Columbian Exposition. Also 
in that transfer is a fine model of a hen's 
egg, which was purchased for display at the 
1895 Cotton States Exposition. 

Another collection of wax models, not 
nearly as old, was assembled for a much 
different purpose. In 1995, a collection of 
wax casts of animal glands and organs 
made by the physiologist and surgeon 
George Crile (1864-1943) was transferred 

18 From Stethoscopes to Artificial Hearts 

to the Division from the Smithsonian's 
National Zoological Park. Crile created the 
models as part of a study to support his 
theory that as an animal's metabolism and 
energy expands, so does its brain size. 
Crile, one of the founders of the Cleveland 
Clinic Foundation in 1921, had hoped to 
place the models in a museum within the 
clinic. The fifteen models acquired by the 
Smithsonian are but a fraction of Crile's 
original castings of hearts, brains, and 
thyroid glands of a white whale, a lion, and 
an eagle. The animals were captured on 
hunting expeditions in the 1930s and 
shipped back to the United States for 
further study. Crile's dream of founding a 
Museum of Intelligence, Power, and 
Personality in which to showcase the 
collection was short lived. 

While the anatomical models and charts 
are important in their own right, they also 
complement many other collections. For 
instance, Auzoux's model of the human 
ear augments an auditory collection of 
hearing aids and cochlear implants. 
Likewise, the eye and brain models supple- 
ment collections of ophthalmology and 
psychology. Included with the donation of 
three gastroscopes, from Jerome Weiss of 
New York City, were three boxed sets of 
teaching models that illustrate various 
pathologies of the stomach. 

Among outstanding sets of equipment 
and instruments, there are electrotherapy 
and chiropractic apparatus, a surgical 
stapler collection, seventeenth- and 
eighteenth-century trephination sets, a 
prototype stereotaxic unit for neurosurgery, 
and a collimator helmet from the first 
gamma knife used in the United States. 

Space restrictions prevent mention of all 
the collecting categories and treasures in 
the Smithsonian's Medical Sciences 
Collection. In addition to the documen- 
tary resources already mentioned, there is 

a vast photographic collection, including 
the Science Service Collection of 
photographs from the late 1920s to the 
early 1960s. 

Although the emphasis has been on 
collecting and documenting the achieve- 
ments of health care professionals, scien- 
tists, and the health care industry. Division 
staff have never lost sight of the patients 
and their perspectives on health and 
disease. The early interest in folk remedies 
and concern with the public health is testi- 
mony to that collecting point of view. 
More recently, for example, the Division 
has collected wigs, turbans, exercise equip- 
ment, videotapes, and health guides from 
three cancer patients. And in the future, 
the Division expects to collect more 
artifacts that broadly represent the 
patient's experience. 

A colleague once referred to the 
medical collections at the Smithsonian as 
the boutique collection of the museum 
world. In many respects this is true, but it 
also houses a fine assortment of ready-to- 
wear in the National Collections. 


1. Annual Report of the Smithsonian Institution 
(Washington: U.S. National Museum 1898, and 
Government Printing Office. 1900), 29. 

2. Accession Book, Department of Anth- 
ropology, Division of Medicine, Vol. XXX, 
Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. 

3. .Audrey B. Davis and Toby .\ppel. Bloodlet- 
ting hutniments in the National Museum of History 
and Technology Smithsonian Studies in Histor)' and 
Technology, No. 31 (Washington, D.C: 
Smithsonian Institution Press, 1979). 

4. James Milton Fhnt, M.D., U.S.N, (retired), 
"Directions for Collecting Information and 
Objects Illustrating the History of Medicine," 
Bulletin of the United States National Museum 39 
(1905): Parts, 5. 

Judy M. Chelnick 19 

Ophthalmology-Optometric Collections 

Katherine Ott 

Objects and artifacts are, among other 
things, material evidence of the intel- 
lect and obsessions of cultures. The 
Division of Science, Medicine and Society 
has a splendid record of the havoc 
rendered on eyes by modern society. 
Accident, minor injury, and illness caused 
partial and total loss of sight on a shocking 
scale in the nineteenth and early twentieth 
centuries. The Smithsonian's ophthalmic 
collection traces the history of such things 
as farmers kicked in the head by horses, 
stonecarvers blinded by flying debris, 
motorcyclists with faces covered in mud, 
and 1980s teenagers struggling to adjust to 
contact lenses. 

The collection contains approximately 
twenty-live hundred objects, of which two 
thousand are spectacles from the seven- 
teenth century to the present. The 
remainder of the collection consists of 
nineteenth- and twentieth-century 
diagnostic equipment, therapy items, and 
related pieces used by optometrists and 
ophthalmologists. Ainong them are sight- 
testing instruments such as Jaeger test type 
charts, Holmgren's colored wool test for 
color blindness, a chromatophotometer, 
perimeters, and pupillometers. 

Before the invention of the ophthalmo- 
scope in 1851, knowledge of the eye was 
limited to its surface structure or what 
could be determined from a lifeless 
autopsy. The ophthalmoscope brought a 
means to optically project light behind the 
eye of a living person; and to see, for the 
first time, an actual living organ (the optic 
nerve, eye, and fundus). In its wake came a 

A small assortment of spectacles from a large and 
diverse collection of eyeware. The slit style (right rear) 
is an Eskimo design for reducing snow glare. 

mass of new knowledge about neurological 
illness as well as vision loss. Ophthalmo- 
scopes are represented by over forty 
devices that cover most major designs 
from Hermann Ludwig von Ferdinand 
Helmholtz (and subsequent modifications 
by Richard Liebreich, E. Rekoss, Edward 
Loring, Edmond Landolt, and Hermann 
Jakob Knapp) to electric otoscopes of the 
1960s. Several years ago, the Division 
acquired the prototype of the indirect 
binocular ophthalmoscope created by 
Charles Shepens from scraps of metal 
collected after the Germans bombed 
London during World War II. 

Interpretation of eyewear addresses 
issues of aesthetics, consumption, cap- 
italism, industry, manufacturing, and 
vanity. It is fitting, then, that by far the 
largest part of the collection is that of 
eyewear. Most of the spectacles came as 
donations from two collectors: ophthal- 
mologist and scholar William Rosenthal, 

20 Ophthalmology-Optometric Collections 

<2 © # <d ^. ® o 

<^ oo oo ^# 

A boxed set (c. 1865) of 5U glass eyes, from brown to hazel to green to blue of various sizes and shapes and complete 
with red veining was probably made in Europe and intended for Civil War veterans who required them. They come 
in a velvet-lined, compartmentalized wood case stamped "Prof. James T. Davis, 127 East 15. Street, New York" who 
was probably an eye fitter. 

who donated numerous surgical instru- 
ments and other objects related to 
twentieth-century practice, and Eric Muth, 
a Connecticut optician who consulted with 
Smithsonian staff for several years before 
donating his extensive collection in 1984. 

All major styles of eyewear are repre- 
sented, including examples from as early as 
the Middle Ages (Chinese) to 1990s trifo- 
cals, with lorgnettes, monocles, opera 
glasses, pince-nez, sunglasses, and safety 
goggles in between. Likewise, there are 
examples from major manufacturers and 
distributors, including Meyrowitz, 
American Optical, and Bausch and Lomb. 

The examples of refracting apparatus 
document research in anatomy of the eye 

and physiology of vision: two ophthal- 
mometers from the 1890s; a ski-optometer; 
several trial lens sets, including one with 
sales receipts and order forms from the 
late-nineteenth century; a prism spectacle 
holder with four prisms; and a Maddox rod 
test lens. These reflect shifts in the impor- 
tance of physiological problems to be 
solved (such as astigmatism and glaucoma) 
and methods for solving them. 

Kevin Touhy was the inventor of the 
modern corneal contact lens. Following his 
death, his widow donated several original 
objects and papers to the collection, 
including eyemolds for shaping the lenses. 
These complement models for the earlier 
scleral design lens. Intraocular lenses (for 

Katherine Ott 21 

The first clinical 
use of contact 
lenses came in the 
1880s. The 
corneal lenses and 
molds used to 
make them, shown 
here, were 
developed by 
Kevin Tuohy in 
the late 194Us 
and 5CA. They 
were significantly 
smaller and 
lighter than 
earlier types. 

implantation), which have revolutionized 
cataract surgery have also been collected, 
including the Binkhorst, maltese cross, and 
several other types. 

Among the unique objects in the collec- 
tion are artificial eye-related materials 
donated by Milton Wirtz, who was among 
the team of World War II army dentists 
who perfected the use of acrylic resin for 
artificial eyes. Prior to the development of 
plastic eyes, German-made glass was used. 
As a result of war shortages, Wirtz was 
detailed to find a suitable replacement. 
The Smithsonian collections also have 
display boxes of "reform" eyes (the late- 
nineteenth-century design used for 
patients who still retained the globe) as 
well as mid-twentieth-century implants. 

Without doubt, more specialized instru- 
ments exist for ophthalmology than for 
any other surgery. There are, for example, 
multiple designs for each use of the 
forceps: capsular, iris, corneal, and 
fixation. Other instruments used to cut 
cataracts and repair damaged tissues 
include tenotomy knives, keratomes, 
spoons, loops, spatulas, scissors, sutures, 
iris hooks, and corneal trephines. The 
lachrymal syringe, well represented in the 
collection, not only predates the 
hypodermic syringe by some 120 years biu 
also introduces some of the principles 
perfected in the latter. 

22 Ophthalmology-Optometric Collections 

Medical Imaging 

Ramunas Kondratas 

Medical imaging technologies, broadly 
construed, are ways of visualizing the 
human body. They range from anatomical 
drawings and models, to instruments for 
looking into body parts (such as specula 
and endoscopes), to X-ray machines and 
the latest imaging modalities— ultrasound, 
computed tomography (CT), magnetic 
resonance imaging (MRI), and positron- 
emission tomography (PET) scanning. 

The Division of Science, Medicine and 
Society has a number of very beautiful 
anatomical drawings and charts illustrative 
of medical imaging, as does the Dibner 
Rare Book Library on the first floor of the 

The X-Ray 

The radiology collection is especially rich, 
both in objects associated with famous sci- 
entists and in breadth and depth. In 1956, 
the Smithsonian acquired one of the first 
X-ray tubes used by Wilhelm Konrad 
Roentgen (1845-1923), professor of 
physics at the University of Wiirzburg, 
Germany, who on November 8, 1895, dis- 
covered this new kind of radiation. 
According to accession records, it was 
Roentgen's third X-ray tube. This tube was 
purchased for the Smithsonian by the 
General Electric Company and flown to 
Washington, D.C., by Trans World Air 
Lines. In one of the more unusual but 
fitting welcomes into the collections for a 
national treasure, a special presentation 
ceremony was arranged at National 
Airport (recently renamed the Ronald 
Reagan Washington National Airport). 

One of the early tubes used by Wilhelm Konrad Roentgen during his 
experimental X-ray research in 1895. Photograph by A. Russetti. 

Roentgen's first two tubes are preserved, 
respectively, at the Physical Institute in 
Wiirzburg and at the Deutsches Museum 
in Munich. 

Emil H. Grubbe (1875-1960), a Chicago 
physician, was among the first to apply 
Roentgen's rays in clinical practice, 
treating a cancer and a skin disorder in 
1896. In 1941, Grubbe donated five glass 
vacuum X-ray tubes, including three 
designed and patented by him, to illustrate 
the use of X-rays for therapeutic purposes 
from 1898 to 1902. His sad but heroic 

Ramunas Kondratas 23 

research began when he unknowingly 
exposed himself to X-rays from William 
Crookes's tubes in 1895, before Roentgen 
announced his discovery. The radiation 
burns gave him the idea that X-rays might 
have therapeutic value in treating diseased 
tissue. Because of this exposure, Grubbe 
underwent ninety-two operations during 
his lifetime, eventually leaving him 
disfigured and crippled. 

Induction coils and static machines- 
early methods for generating enough 
electrical current through a partially evacu- 
ated glass tube to produce X-rays— are also 
represented in the radiology collection. 
The Grosse Flamme (Great Flame), devel- 
oped in 1904 by Albert B. Koett, used an 
induction coil that produced a twelve-inch 
spark, the largest usable spark at the time. 
It was donated to the Division by the Kelly- 
Koett Manufacturing Company of 
Covington, Kentucky, in 1947. A large and 
impressive static machine that had been 
used in Washington, D.C., for making X- 
ray photographs was acquired in 1957 and 
put on display in the Hall of Medical 
Sciences. It was the Morton-Wimshurst- 
Holz Influence Machine, manufactured by 
the Bowen Company of Providence, Rhode 
Island, and patented in 1889. 

Another piece of historic radiology 
equipment included in the collection, is 
the first portable X-ray machine used 
successfully on a battlefield. Owned by the 
British Red Cross, it was used in the 
Balkan Wars of 1912; before that, all 
medical X-ray work was confined to hospi- 
tals, far from the front line. This unit was 
made by Harry W. Cox and Company of 
London; it was used by Harry Cox, who 
died of burns received from it. 

The Division's most significant acquisi- 
tion was in 1978, when over 250 objects, 
much related literature, and reference 

materials were donated by the American 
College of Radiology in Chicago. The 
collection numbered nearly 160 X-ray 
tubes of many varieties, X-ray machines 
(including several from the first decade of 
this century), X-ray films, fluoroscopes, X- 
ray generators, exposure calculators, and 
other related materials. 

Beyond the X-Ray 

Since the 1970s, the emphasis has been on 
collecting and documenting other emerg- 
ing imaging modalities, a mission that 
must be highly selective because of space 
limitations. The Division has collected the 
1963 prototype CT scanner built and used 
by Allan M. Cormack, who together with 
Godfrey Hounsfield of England, received 
the 1979 Nobel Prize for Physiology and 
Medicine in recognition of their work in 
developing computer-assisted tomography. 

The collection also includes the first 
whole-body CT scanner, an automated 
computerized transverse axial (ACTA) 
scanner, invented by Robert Ledley and 
put into clinical operation in 1974 at the 
Georgetown University Medical Center. A 
great deal of documentation accompanied 
the scanner: photographs of its construc- 
tion, an early 16mm sound movie of the 
scanner in action, copies of the earliest 
images generated, numerous articles and 
press releases, drawings, original designs 
(including a small balsawood model), and 
even wiring lists. In addition, Smithsonian 
staff videotaped oral histories with Ledley, 
both in front of the scanner and in his 
laboratory at Georgetown University. 

In the area of MRI (formerly known as 
nuclear magnetic resonance imaging), the 
Division has a 1977 prototype built by one 
of its pioneers, Raymond Damadian, who 
proudly named his scanner "The 
Indomitable." It nicely complements the 

24 Medical Imaging 

This 1986 exhibit on body imaging featured the first whole-body CT scanner invented by Robert Ledley (on the left), 
an ultrasound fetal monitor (in the middle), and Raymond Damadian's prototype MRl scanner, "The Indomitable" 
(on the right). 

National Bureau of Standards electro- 
magnet (acquired in 1986), which was used 
in 1972 for the first in vivo dernonstration 
of the nuclear magnetic resonance 
technique, in which a tumor on the tail of 
a live mouse was visualized. 

Ultrasonic Technologies 

Ultrasonic waves, the very-high-frequency 
sound waves, were applied in both industry 
and medicine between the world wars. But 
ultrasound was not adapted to diagnostic 
medical technique until the late 1940s and 

early 1950s, and as a medical imaging tech- 
nique not until the mid-1960s. Two instru- 
ments that illustrate the most common 
ultrasound medical applications— a fetal 
monitor and a B-Scan ultrasonoscope for 
scanning the eye— are part of the collection. 
Two recently acquired ultrasound 
machines from Acuson Corporation of 
Mountain View, California, represent 
significant advances in medical sonog- 
raphy. The Acuson 128 system, introduced 
in 1983, is a pioneering example of 
computed sonography. Based on a hybrid 

Ramunas Kondratas 25 

analog/digital computer, it was specially 
designed to accommodate the data- 
processing requirements of real-time image 
formation. The Sequoia 512 system, which 
was introduced in 1996, is the first-ever 
utilization of both phase and amplitude 
information from sound waves to produce 
fine-quality images and much more detailed 
diagnostic information; conventional 
instruments utilize only amplitude infor- 
mation. Both instruments arrived with 
excellent records of manufacture and 
marketing, to which Smithsonian staff have 
added videotaped oral histories. 

The Division is currently investigating 
the possibility of collecting artifacts from 
the newest of the imaging modalities, PET 
scanning, whose reliance on cyclotrons and 
radioactive isotopes pose an unusual 
challenge to the modern curator. 

The Acuson 128 ultrasound scanner, introduced in 
1983, marked the beginning of computed sonography. 

26 Medical Imaging 

Toothkeys to Prosthodontics 

Philip D. Spiess II 

When the United States National 
Museum opened in the Arts and 
Industries building in 1881, it began to 
acquire the first medical collections. No 
dental items were included or collected, 

True, Assistant Director George Brown 
Goode's ambitious scheme (anthropologi- 
cally-based) to acquire "Ultimate Products 
and Their Utilization" included "medicine, 
surgery, pharmacology, hygiene, &c.," but 
those products tended to be purely 
pharmacological (materia medica). His 
Amiual Report for 1881 reported optimisti- 
cally that "important contributions have 
been promised by several manufacturing 
and commercial houses," including "the 
appliances and operations of dentistry, by 
the S. S. White Manufacturing Company, 
of Philadelphia," but the records show that 
no such contribution was forthcoming.' 

Some forty years later, in 1924, Charles 
Whitcbread, Assistant Curator in what was 
then the Division of Medicine, set up the 
Public Health Gallery in the Arts and 
Industries Building, comprising exhibits 
deposited by the National Committee on 
Exhibits Showing Advances in Sanitary 
Science, a committee of government 
bureaus working in public health. Intended 
to educate the public in health and sanita- 
tion, the gallery eventually featured an 
exhibit on oral hygiene, which displayed 
(among other things) a cotton roll tooth- 
brush and specimens of dental floss 
(contributed by Johnson & Johnson), 
twelve toothbrushes of various sizes and 
styles (contributed by S. E. Howard's Son 

& Company), and six toothbrushes 
contributed by the Pro-phy-lac-tic Brush 
Company of Massachusetts. Any display on 
the history of dentistry was yet to come. 

First Dental Models 

But come it did one year later, 1925, when 
a large collection of original patent models 
(including 150 dental items) was trans- 
ferred from the Patent Office. Among the 
items were a handsomely carved pair of 
1870s wooden dental forceps from a Dr. 
Robie, artificial teeth made of diverse 
materials, models of vulcanizers, and an 
assortment of forceps, gold pluggers, and 
articulators. The pieces reflected how the 
craft of dentistry had evolved through 
woodworkers, plaster molders, ivory 
turners, smiths, and clockwork and jewelry 
makers; the nineteenth-century dentist had 
often made his own tools, which he then 

A variety of early 
American dental 
keys. Photograph 
by A. Russetti. 

Philip D. Spiess II 27 

The re-created office workshop of Dr. Edward Angle displays, along with his portrait, eqiiipment he used to develop 
the modern practice of orthodontia. 

patented and sold to a commercial 
manufacturer. For that reason, dental 
patents exemplified a specialized 
American craft, one worth representing in 
the Department of Arts and Industries. 

By 1930, significant objects in the 
history of anesthesiology and radiology 
were being acquired, many of which had 
been utilized by or developed in conjunc- 
tion with dental practice. 

Fifties Expansion 

Post-World War II prosperity led to a 
distinct improvement in Smithsonian 
finances and staffing. By 1951, dentistry 
and oral hygiene were listed among the 
subjects for which the Division of 
Medicine and Public Health would develop 
"historical, modern, scientific, technical, 
and popular exhibits and study collec- 
tions." Among the objects that might be 

28 Toothkcvs to Prosthodontics 

collected to carry out those purposes were 
"instruments, equipment, pictures, 
exhibits, dioramas, models, and litera- 
ture." The Division also offered "docent 
service to classes from medical, pharmacy, 
and dental colleges, and to groups of 
students, technicians, and nurses."" 

With the appointment of George B. 
Griffenhagen as Curator in 1952, the 
medical science collections were increased 
in scope and quantity, and dentistry 
became an official section. Exhibits in the 
Arts and Industries Building were 
expanded to include a case on dental 
instruments, an exhibit on the manufac- 
ture of dentures, and a display of prints of 
dentists and their patients, a gift of the 
American Dental Association. 

By far the most interesting dental 
exhibit was the circa 1895 Jacksonville, 
Illinois, office of Greene Vardiman Black 
(1836-1915), a pioneer in American opera- 
tive dentistry and dean of the Dental 
School at Northwestern University from 
1891 to 1915. Northwestern had displayed 
Black's equipment and memorabilia at the 
1918 meeting of the National Dental 
Association in Chicago and later in a 
period-room setting at its Evanston, 
Illinois, campus. Northwestern presented 
the collection, which includes an early 
Archer dental chair and the foot-powered 
dental engine designed by Black in 1871, 
to the Smithsonian in 1954, and it went on 
exhibit shortly thereafter.-' 

In 1957, as the Smithsonian was reorga- 
nizing and planning for a new Museum of 
History and Technology building on the 
Mall, the Division of Medical Sciences was 
at work on the creation of Halls of Medical 
Sciences— including a Hall of Dentistry. 
The dental profession responded gener- 
ously to solicitations for historical items, 
and a special committee of the American 

Academy of the History of Dentistry was 
set up to assist the process. The coopera- 
tive effort paid off handsomely. Four 
magnificent collections were acquired by 
1966, when the Hall of Dentistry opened. 

Building the Collection 

The first donation came from the 
University of Pennsylvania. Much of that 
material had been part of the Thomas W. 
Evans Museum and Dental Institute of the 
university's School of Dentistry. Evans 
(1823-1897), a prosperous native of 
Pennsylvania who established a practice in 
Paris in 1848, had been private dentist to 
many of the crowned heads of Europe, 
most notably Emperor Napoleon III and 
his consort, the Empress Eugenie. In 1870, 
Evans attained international fame when he 
engineered the Empress's escape from an 
inflamed Paris and a collapsing Second 
Empire. The Evans Museum was opened 
on the University of Pennsylvania campus 
in 1915 but was dispersed at the end of the 
1950s due to the need for more classroom 
space. The Smithsonian received a portion 
of Evans's dental instruments and 
examples of royal bridgework. 

The next big donation came in 1960 
from the S. S. White Dental Manufacturing 
Company of Philadelphia, one of the 
country's largest producers and distribu- 
tors of dental implements and equipment. 
In addition to their own products, the 
company sent samples from its "Model 
Room" of historical pieces from a variety 
of manufacturers: anaesthesia inhalers, 
articulators, four display cases of hand- 
pieces, a circa-1864 Harrington wind-up 
spring-driven dental engine, and such rare 
items as early pelicans and dental keys, 
automatic engine mallets, and bow drills. 
Especially useful to researchers was the 
extensive collection of trade catalogs. 

Philip D. Spiess II 29 

Dr. Charles Edmund Kelt's office features early X-ray equipment (c. 1916) 
which he applied to the practice of dentistry. Notice the compression tube, 
unusually large for dental work, immediately below the X-ray tube itself 

The laboratory workshop and personal 
memorabilia of Edward H. Angle 
(1855-1930), who was often considered 
the "Father of American Orthodontia," 
constituted the next major collection. It 

arrived in 1962 from the University of 
Illinois College of Dentistry. Angle 
pioneered techniques and equipment for 
straightening misaligned teeth. He 
designed and promoted the expansion 
arch (often the torment of the young), the 
gold band that exerts controlled pressure 
on out-of-position teeth. 

The fourth major donation— office 
equipment and radiology apparatus 
belonging to Charles Edmund Kells 
(1856-1928)-had a singular history of 
heroic experimentation and misfortune. 
Kells was an innovator of electrical applica- 
tions for dental tools (the electric suction 
pump was his invention) as well as the 
preeminent pioneer in the adaptation of X- 
ray technology to dental practice. 
Tragically, his repeated exposure to X-rays 
during years of experiments and dental 
treatments resulted in damage that 
required thirty-five progressive amputa- 
tions of his left arm, and he committed 
suicide at the age of seventy-two. The 
previous year he had donated his books 
and professional equipment to Tulane 
University for the Kells Memorial Library 
and Museum, which was supervised by the 
Tulane Dental School. In a final stroke of 
disaster, the dental school suspended 
operations the same year of Kells's death. 
C]onsequently, the contents of his museum 
were (to quote an observer) "thrown 
around and most everything was lost or 
stolen." What eventually came to the 
Smithsonian in 1964 (through Kells's 
daughter and Tulane University) was 
salvaged from "a rough storage room . . . 
under the Tulane stadiimi," where it had 
been dumped by order of the dean of the 
School of Medicine!^ 

As the final touches were being put on 
the Hall of Dentistry, the Smithsonian 
engineered a fruitful loan that rounded 

30 Toothkeys to Prosthodontics 

out the exhibits. The Baltimore College of 
Dental Surgery, founded in 1840 as the 
first dental college in the world, had 
maintained a dental collection and 
museum for many years. But with expan- 
sion of the College (which merged with the 
Dental Department of the University of 
Maryland to become the University's 
School of Dentistry) and the planning of a 
new facility, its museum had been disman- 
tled and the collections had been placed in 
storage. In 1966, the Smithsonian 
arranged a ten-year loan, which continued 
through 1995! 

The Hall of Dentistry 

With those four major donations and the 
long-term loan, plus the somewhat earlier 
gift from Northwestern University, the 
Hall of Dentistry presented an impressive 
history of the field: the reconstructed 
period room-style offices of dentists Black, 
Angle, and Kells; exhibit cases of very 
early dental operative instruments; early 
and unusual examples of artificial teeth 
and dentures; and a portrayal of the 
emergence of modern dental hygiene. 

In 1967, the Columbia University School 
of Dental and Oral Surgery donated the 
Charles H. Land collection. A developer of 
the type of dentures retained by capillary 
action (1885), Land was such an artisan 
that he crafted a set of artificial teeth (now 
at the Smithsonian) for his dog! In 1970, 
Columbia University added another 1,555 
dental instruments and artifacts. 

Among the more fascinating examples 
of dental technology and practice in the 
collections are twenty-four dental chairs 
(the earliest dating from 1862), including 
at least six Archer chairs, a Johnston Bros, 
chair, S. S. White-manufactured chairs, 
"The Allison" chair (ca. 1890), a Harvard 
chair (ca. 1910), the "Ideal Columbia" (ca. 

This oversized (about 25.5 in. high and about 13.5 in. 
broad) wooden molar was an attention-getting sign for 
its owner's office. It was presented to the Smitluonian 
in 1978 by William L. Walters of Washington, D.C. 

1910), and some more recent Ritter and 
Syntex chairs. 

Other significant reminders of the 
American dental past are a wooden dental 
office sign, a giant third-molar "tooth" with 
three roots (given in 1978 by William L. 
Walters of Washington, D.C); an early 
American-made toothkey with a rotating 
bolster (circa 1820-1830); a Killam-patent 
toothkey (circa 1860) that claimed to 
remove the tooth without breaking the jaw; 
a Sharp dental draw press (circa 1918) of 
fifteen punches in graduated sizes, used 
for making gold shells for seamless crowns; 
and a collection of objects relating to the 

Philip D. Spiess II 31 

career of early dental hygienist Frances G. 

Documenting Modern Practice 

In 199;^ the denial office of Paul Wilhelm 
Rieser was donated to the Smithsonian by 
his heirs. Rieser completed his dental 
degree in Germany in 1933 but fled to the 
United States during the Nazi persecution 
of Jews. He earned a degree cum laude 
from the University of Pennsylvania in 
1937 and established an independent 
office in New York City in 1940, where he 
practiced for the next fifty-two years. His 
office was one of the last of the old-style 
dental offices in which the practitioner 
stood to work, moving between the 
patient's chair, the instrument cabinet, and 
the laboratory work table. This type of 
office was generally replaced in the early 
1960s by the more modern "sit-down" 
office, in which an efficient dental unit 
places everything within easy reach of the 
practitioner, who sits working at the side 
of the patient's reclining, contoured chair. 

Mindful of the need to document 
dentistry's current practice as well as its 
past, the Smithsonian continues to seek 
out and acquire significant collections. 
One way this is done is through the exhibi- 
tion program. As an exhibition is planned 
around a chosen topic, the planners may 
realize that while some objects needed are 
available in the collections, other key 
objects may not be. This prompts a search 
and acquisition effort. For example, the 
current About Faces: The Postwar Boom in 
Craniofacial Knowledge exhibit (see page 10) 
features a wide range of dental science 
elements— not only the use of fluoride in 
drinking water and toothpaste but also 
prosthodontia and the latest saliva testing 
for a variety of oral and systemic diseases. 
Such objects as children's chewable 

vitamin-enriched prescription fiuoride 
tablets, fluoride toothpaste, enamel 
whiteners (to counteract mottling from too 
much fluoride), ribbon-arch and multicol- 
ored braces for orthodontia, saliva collec- 
tors, and an oral HIV antibody testing 
system were collected for the exhibit. They 
will remain a permanent part of the dental 
collection as the Museum begins to collect 
for the twenty-first century. 


1. Smithsonian Institution, Annual Report of the 
Board of Regents of the Smithsonian Institution, 
Showing the Operations. Expenditures, and Condition 
of the Institution for the Year 188 1 (Washington, D. 
C: Government Printing Office, 1883), 91, 100. 

2. Smithsonian Institution, The Smithsonian 
Institution: A Description of Its Work (Washington, 
D.C.: Smithsonian Institution, 1951), 87, 90. 

3. National Dental .Association, Black Historical 
Exhibit: Prepared by Dr. William Bebb for the Meeting 
of the National Dental Association, August 5-9, 1918, 
Auditorium Hotel, Chicago (Chicago: National 
Dental Association, 1918). 

4. M. B. Vamado to Sami K. Hamiameh, Dec. 
28, 1964, and Feb. 11, 1965. 

32 Toothkeys to Prosthodontics 

The Pharmacy Collections 

Diane L. Wendt and Eric W. Jentsch 

On the fifth floor of the National 
Museum of American History, at the 
back of the Medical Sciences collections 
storage room, is the realm of the pharmacy 
collections. The narrow aisles maximize 
room for rows of storage units. Space is at 
a premium. The feeling of being crowded 
is immediate. Glass-doored cabinets yield a 
glance at the variety and quantity of speci- 
mens. Closed and stacked "quarter units" 
line another wall. 

Several cabinets contain shelves of 
patent inedicines, from Allan's Compound 
Extract of Celery to Zoa-Phora: Woman's 
Friend. Others have pharinaceuticals, from 
adrenalin chloride to zinc oxide. Mortars, 
pestles, and apothecary tools of all types 
abound. A row of cabinets is devoted to 
drug containers of every variety of size, 
shape, and material— from large ornate 
ceramic leech jars and glass show globes to 
the nineteenth-century unadorned stock 
drug bottles. A cabinet of crude exotic 
drugs contains a jar of tiger bones, dried 
hedgehog skin, and a bottle of iridescent 
Spanish flies. Quarter units reveal drawer 
upon drawer of pharmaceuticals, 
cosmetics, contraceptives, bandages, tooth- 
pastes, vitamins, and syringes. 

All of this is only a sampling, because 
much of the pharmacy collection long ago 
overran the available space. Downstairs on 
the exhibit floor two entire "period" 
pharmacies— T/i^" Old World Apothecary Shop 
and The 1890s American Drug Store— are 
hidden behind the walls of current exhibi- 

The National Museum of Amencan Histoiy's pharmacy collections storage 
area, with rows of glass-doored. steel storage cabinets for small and 
medium-sized objects. 

Large manufacturing tools and 
machinery, along with boxes of crude 
drugs, reside in a warehouse-style storage 
facility in Suitland, Maryland. Hundreds of 
specimens of crude drugs and homeo- 
pathic remedies are in state-of-the-art 
storage at the Smithsonian's Museum 
Support Center, also in Suitland. 

But the specimens and objects are only 
part of the story of the pharmacy collec- 
tions. On a shelf in the storage room also 
reside two catalog books filled with the 
elegant script of the first recorders of the 
collections. The ledgers are an invaluable 
source for recreating the early history of 
the collection. 

Diane L. Wendt and Eric W. Jentsch 33 


A popular specimen 
from the Chinese Cus- 
/ '^ , toms collection is a jar 

of tiger bones, clearly 
unprocessed, with teeth 
intact in jawbone. The 
Catalog of the Chinese 
Imperial Maritime Cus- 
toms Collection of 1876 
had this to say about 
the specimen: "The 
bones of the tiger— the 
Leopardus brachyurus. 
Mixed with hartshorn 
and the plastron of the 
terrapin formed into a 
tonic jelly, which is 
much used in the 
rheumatic affections of 
the joints, diseases of 
the bones, ague and debility." Several specimens from 
the collection of modern preparations from China also 
contain tiger bones, including Tiger Bone Medicinal 
Liquor, Tiger Bone Pills, and Tiger Bone Plasters. All 
are processed, bottled, boxed, and labeled with bright 

Diane L. Wendt and Eric W. Jentsch 

Centennial Legacy: Collecting the "Official" 
Pharmacopoeia, 1881-1950 

On May 24, 1881, the first entry was 
recorded in the catalog book of the newly 
established Section of Materia Medica in 
the Department of Anthropology of the 
U.S. National Museum. It was a specimen 
of Chrysanthemum album (Catalog Number 

49226, Accession Number 5892) from 
Hangchow-fu, China, one of more than six 
hundred specimens of materia medica 
comprising the collection of the Chinese 
Imperial Maritime Customs Commission 
exhibited at the Philadelphia Centennial 
Exposition in 1876. The transfer of that 
and other collections of crude drugs from 
the Centennial Exposition established 
materia medica as the focus of the medical 
collections for the next several decades. 

The collection grew rapidly in the first 
few years, with large donations from 
American pharmaceutical and medical 
supply companies. Almost immediately, 
box upon box of materia medica speci- 
mens began arriving from such firms as 
Schieffelin and Company of New York, 
which sent nearly eight hundred specimens 
in 1881 and 1882. Other early donors 
included the Wallace Brothers North 
Carolina Supply Company, Parke-Davis and 
Company, McKesson and Robbins, and 
Powers and Weightman. Director Spencer 
F. Baird appealed to other American firms 
and individuals to follow suit. 

Donations from American firms repre- 
sented only one side of the collecting 
strategy, however. Equally important was 
the international initiative. Connections 
with other scientific institutions, including 
the Royal Botanical Gardens of Kew, 
England, led to a continual exchange of 
specimens. Other collections were 
procured by staff in the field or through 
individual contacts. Significant collections 
were obtained from India (through the 
Kurrachee Municipal Library and 
Museum), Jamaica (through the Public 
Gardens and Plantations and Government 
of Jamaica), Japan (through the 
Department of Education), China (through 
the Rev. V. F. Partch, who collected and 
arranged for the donation of more than 

34 The Pharmacy Collections 

seven hundred specimens), and Korea 
(purchased by staff in the field). Extensive 
South American collections were trans- 
ferred from the Department of 
Agriculture. The goal was a comprehensive 
collection of materia medica specimens 
and official pharmacopoeias from around 
the world. The expressed value of such a 
collection was not historical but scientific 
and educational— both to the professional 
and the layperson. 

Donations from Eli Lilly, Merck, Parke- 
Davis, Powers- Weigh tman-Rosengar ten, 
Sharp and Dohme, and E. R. Squibb & 
Sons were prominent in the accession 
records through the early years. Long lists 
of official preparations were carefully 
recorded and cross-referenced to the U.S. 
Pharmacopoeia, the U.S. Dispensatory, or the 
National Formulary. By 1910, however, the 
collections of materia medica specimens 
from foreign countries disappeared from 
the pages of the catalog record. The focus 
of collecting turned from international to 
American, and from scientific to historical. 

Alternative Measures: Sampling Outside the 
Medical Mainstream 

During the first decades of collections 
development, there were few deviations 
from the almost exclusive concern with 
collecting specimens of "official" materia 
medica. In 1898, however, curator James 
Flint began collecting artifacts associated 
with "magic" or "psychic" medicine, 
including amulets, talismans, madstones, 
precious gems, and materials related to 
voodoo. The collections marked the begin- 
ning of a continually reoccurring interest 
in documenting medical practices outside 
the mainstream medical establishment. 

That interest remains to the present day, 
even as institutional motivation evolves 
and the definition of what constitutes alter- 

Three contemporary health products collected in China; note the repackaging 
and selling of the British patent medicine Woodward Celebrated Grapewater 
for infants (on the right). 

native therapies changes from one genera- 
tion to the next. The early collections of 
magic and psychic medicine, for example, 
served partly to educate the public about 
the perils of those ways. 

In the 1920s, interest in alternative 
health measures shifted from other 
cultures to the most popular alternative 
American schools, especially homeopathy, 
osteopathy, and the Eclectic School. 
Illustrative are the personal artifacts of 
"The Father of Homeopathy," Samuel 
Hahnemann, including his medicine case 
and a vial of Bryonia 400x pellets made 
from his own personal stock and the 
remedies of the Boericke and Tafel 
Homeopathic Pharmacy of Philadelphia, 
founded in 1835. 

The Eclectic School is represented by 
personal artifacts, notably the laboratory 
equipment of John King, an analytical 
pharmacologist at the Eclectic Medical 
Institute of Cincinnati. A large collection 

Diane L. Wendt and Eric W. Jentsch 35 


An interesting 
specimen from the 
homeopathy 's 
emphasis on 
minute doses, this 
medicine case 
contains eighty- 
five preparations 
and resembles a 
book when closed. 


fe?^ t?1^7t??f???v?fg?T^:j^^^-T5g^iEg»f^g; 

of materia mcdica introduced and 
employed by other Eclectic physicians was 
donated by an associate of King's, the 
Cincinnati chemist John Uri Lloyd, who 
was the principal manufacturer of eclectic 
medicines in the nineteenth and early 
twentieth centuries. Devices and instru- 
ments used in osteopathic treatment were 
also collected, along with some of the 
personal memorabilia of Andrew Taylor 
Still, founder of osteopathy, including his 
Civil War surgical instrument case. 

Homeopathic collections, in particular, 
have continued to grow. The original 1919 
collection of Boericke and Tafel material, 
for example, was exchanged with the 
manufacturer in 1932 for fresh specimens. 
The practice of returning deteriorated and 
discolored specimens to the manufacturer 
for replacement was common at the time. 

The "fresh" look of specimens for displav 
was considered important. More modern 
homeopathic remedies, such as Munyon's 
and Humphrey's, were added to the collec- 
tion in the late 1950s and early 1960s, 
including a complete counter display of 
Munyon's remedies from Vinson's 
Pharmacy of Rockville, Maryland. 

In the early 1970s, while planning for 
exhibits to celebrate the American 
Bicentennial, Smithsonian staff sought to 
commemorate the look and feel of the 
1876 Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition. 
At 1011 Arch Street, Philadelphia, they 
found the incredibly well-preserved 
original Boericke and Tafel display. The 
homeopathic manufacturer had been one 
of the major exhibitors at the 1876 fair. 

The V^ictorian-era display, featuring nearl> 
five hundred specimens of homeopathic 

36 The Pharmacy Collections 

Bristol-Myers Squibb Eighteenth-Century 
European Apothecary 

One of the Smithsonian's 
most enduring stars is the 
Bristol-Myers Squibb Euro- 
pean Apothecary Collection. 
Unequaled in the United 
States, the European apothe- 
cary has been at the Smith- 
sonian since 1945, when E. 
R. Squibb & Sons, through 
the American Pharmaceu- 
tical Association, deposited 
the 1,100-piece collection at 
the United States National 

Jo Mayer (1870-1940), a 
pharmacist from Wiesbaden, 
Germany, assembled this 
diverse collection of artifacts 
dating from the fifteenth 
through the nineteenth 
centuries. Among them are 
European-crafted ceramic 

The laboratory, or "Faust Study, " of the Sqjiibb Ancient Apothecary with distillation 
apparatus, mortars and pestles, spoons, bowls, measures, and various hinds of drug 
containers used for compounding remedies. 

and rare glass pharmaceutical containers; gothic and rococo-style mortars and pestles from The 
Netherlands, Switzerland, France, and Spain; franchises, pharmacopeias, and formularies; more than 
eighty paintings and prints, pharmacy scales, distillation equipment, microscopes, and the ever- 
present stuffed creatures that have come to symbolize the European apothecary. The wooden cabinets 
and stained-glass windows came from the Miinster Apotheke of Freiburg. 

The Ancient Apothecary, as the collection came to be called on this side of the Atlantic, was the 
centerpiece of the E. R. Squibb & Sons Pavilion at the 1933 Chicago World's Fair ("Century of 
Progress Exposition"). The collection then returned to New York City, where it was installed in a 
museum created atop the Squibb corporate headquarters. The collection remained there until it was 
brought to the Smithsonian. 

During a 1991 ceremony at the National Museum of American History, the Bristol-Myers Squibb 
Pharmaceutical Company deeded over this magnificent collection to the Smithsonian. 

Judy M. Chelnick 

Diane L. Wendt and Eric W. Jentsch 37 

preparations in the original black cylin- 
drical containers, was donated to the 
Smithsonian and was displayed in the east 
wing of the Arts and Industries Building. 
Along with the Centennial Exhibition 
artifacts, Boericke and Tafel donated a 
large array of tinctures and tablet triturates 
and homeopathic manufacturing equip- 
ment. A small collection of contemporary 
products from Boericke and Tafel brings 
the collection up to date and serves to 
document today's renewed interest in 
homeopathic medicine. Boericke and Tafel 
is now headquartered in Santa Rosa, 
California, and is part of Homint, an inter- 
national federation of homeopathic firms. 

Representative selections of products 
from two other surviving domestic homeo- 
pathic manufacturers— Humphrey's 
Pharmacal of Rutherford, New Jersey, and 
John Borneman and Sons of Norwood, 
Pennsylvania— were added in 1980. The 
homeopathic collections are rounded out 
by a imique collection of remedies utilized 
by a mother-daughter team of homeo- 
pathic practitioners, Ethel R. Woodmans 
and physician Winifred Curtis-Stebbins, 
who practiced in New York State from the 
early part of this century to the 1980s. 

Another manifestation of contemporary 
interest in alternative medicine is an 
increased interest in nonwestern medicine. 
On collecting trips to China in 1988 and 
1995, museum staff obtained approxi- 
mately 250 specimens of modern prepara- 
tions, which supplement the historic 
collections of crude drugs. The collec- 
tions—old and new, divided by more than 
one hundred years— offer interesting 
opportunities to compare and contrast 
both within the nonwestern tradition and 
with the parallel change in western 
medicine over the same time period. 

A recent collection of macrobiotic foods 

from Michio Kushi, the foremost propo- 
nent and popularizer of macrobiotic diet 
in America, represents another instance of 
Americans turning to nonwestern sources 
and "natural" healing as alternatives to 
mainstream medicine. It also represents a 
contemporary example, within our long 
tradition, of collecting and preserving 
specimens related to alternative medical 
theories and therapies. 

Collecting Pharmaceutical Equipment 

Curator ('harles Whitebread began tt) seek 
out objects related to the manufacture and 
dispensing of medicines, materials that 
would not only supplement the collections 
of crude drugs but provide information 
about the practice of pharmacy. The 
response from manufacturers was substan- 

The Torsion Balance Company, for 
example, provided not only contemporary 
counter and prescription balances but also 
an 1840 model that was discovered in a 
company storehouse. Professional organi- 
zations also responded; the National 
College of Pharmacy, for example, 
donated an original O'Donnell supposi- 
tory machine in 1921. 

Within a decade, with the help of 
several generous companies, the 
Smithsonian had assembled a formidable 
collection of laboratory equipment from 
such industrial suppliers as the Whitall 
Tatum Company, the Will Corporation, 
George D. Feidt and Company, John M. 
Maris Company, and Glasco Products 
Company. They provided such equipment 
as beakers, Bunsen burners, funnels, 
retorts, precipitating jars, evaporating 
dishes, and percolators. The Eeidt 
donation also included a large number of 
mortars and pestles, the first significant 
donation of this kind. 

38 The Pharmacy Collections 

Whitebread did not neglect appealing to 
individual donors. He believed, as he 
wrote in a 1931 letter to Herbert Ell, that 
"all objects were important because of the 
need ... to illustrate the history of 
medicine making, and to compare the 
methods of the past with those of the 
present." Through this willingness to court 
potential donors, the Smithsonian 
acquired such diverse objects as tablet 
molds, show globes, glass medicine bottles, 
ointment jars, suppository molds, and 
drugstore furnishings. 

Tools, machinery, and even work spaces 
related to the druggist and the pharmaceu- 
tical producer were added to the 
Smithsonian collection. As the century 
progressed, the acquisition of these 
materials was pursued on an increasingly 
vigorous and grand scale. Among the 
highlights of the pharmaceutical equip- 
ment manufacturing collections are Henry 
Bower's rotary tablet press, made for John 
Wyeth of Philadelphia about 1888, which 
revolutionized tablet manufacturing; John 
Uri Lloyd's combination still-percolator, 
which extracted plant products that might 
otherwise be damaged by heat in ordinary 
distillation; and the rotary die encapsula- 
tion machine invented by R. P. Scherer in 
1931 for manufacturing gelatin capsules. 

The arrival of the E. R. Squibb & Sons 
collection in 1945 provided the impetus 
for the enthusiastic collection of drug jars 
in the late fifties and early sixties. Merck & 
Company and Bristol Myers & Company 
donated magnificent assortments of 
apothecary jars from across the globe and 
from throughout the centuries. Jars from 
Greece, Italy, and France were acquired, 
along with pots and containers from 
Mesopotamia, Persia, and Egypt. American 
drug containers were acquired from 
generous private collectors like Phillip J. 

McAullife and Robert W. Vinson. 

The extraordinary procurement of an 
entire pharmacy occurred in 1958. Mishel 
Wagman, a pharmacist, donated the 
elegant fixtures of Roche Drug Company, a 
pharmacy that had once occupied the 
corner of 8th and G Streets in southwest 
Washington, D.C. The elaborate Victorian 
fixtures included wood shelving and 
counters as well as a number of mirrors. 
Several large purchases were made to stock 
the drugstore, including materials from 
the Hollis Apothecary Shop, a recently 
closed Boston establishment. A typical 
wood-and-glass display counter from the I. 
Emery Rank Drugstore in Lancaster, 
Pennsylvania, finished the drugstore 
display. Named The 1890s American Drug 
Store, the period room was one of the most 
popular exhibits in the Hall of Medical 
Sciences and still stands behind closed 
doors on the Museum's first floor. 

In the early 1960s, a new source of 
objects became available as pharmaceutical 
schools, eager to be rid of archaic equip- 
ment, made such material available to the 
Smithsonian. In 1964, the University of 
Wisconsin donated over 330 authentic 
materials once used in classrooms and 
laboratories— stills, rings, sterilizers, and 
mortars. George Washington University 
followed suit a year later, giving both 
laboratory and dispensing artifacts, 
including animal restraint devices and 
other equipment and memorabilia. Within 
the past thirty years, the schools of 
pharmacy at Michigan's Ferris State 
College and the University of Minnesota 
have also made substantial donations. 

Collecting Self-Medicating Products, 

Patent or proprietary medicines— products 
that at times may seem as strange as tiger 

Diane L. Wendt and Eric W. Jentsch 39 

T)tese over-lhe-counler remedies pom the Museum 's extensive collection of 
palent medicines feature imaginative graphics and substantial amounts of 

bones or as likely to be effective as charms 
and voodoo— have much in common with 
alternative medicines. Like many of the 
alternative therapies, they not only allowed 
the patient to circumvent the "regular" 
doctor but also fulfilled a desire for 
natural remedies or expressed a simple 
distrust of mainstream medicine. Together 
with the products now referred to as over- 
the-counter (OTC) preparations, they 
comprise a large part of our pharmacy 

The first patent medicines acquired by 
the Smithsonian were recorded in the 
catalog book in 1930. Museum staff 
solicited American distributors for specific 
products in an effort to collect and exhibit 
a few of the oldest and most respectable 
patent medicines— preparations that had 
"stood the test of time without criticism" 
and could still be found in American 
drugstores. The purpose was not, as one 
distributor was assured by Whitebread, to 

in any way discredit the product and, in so 
doing, discredit the donor. 

Among the first specimens were 
Haarlem Oil (or Dutch Drops), invented in 
1672 by Claes Tilly, a Dutch medical 
scholar; Dr. John Hooper's Female Pills, 
the patent for which was granted- by King 
George II in 1743 to Hooper, "apothecary 
and man midwife"; and Roche's Herbal 
Embrocation, patented in 1803 "as 
external treatment for whooping-cough, 
croup and colds on the chest." 

Among later additions was Porter's 
Curative Sugar Pills, an early example of 
sugarcoated medicine. In the late 1950s, 
several samples of patent medicines 
containing opium were acquired, including 
Bateman's Pectoral Drops and Godfrey's 
Cordial. These illustrate the ubiquity of 
narcotics in early patent medicines, a class 
of drugs that by the 1950s had become 
highly controlled. 

In the early 1960s, the patent medicine 
collection grew from a few handfuls to 
many hundreds. That growth coincided 
with plans for a Hall of Pharmaceutical 
History in the Museum of History and 
Technology. One of the gems of the 
exhibit hall was to be the reconstructed 
1890s American Drug Store installation. The 
need to stock those shelves prompted the 
acquisition of hundreds of patent 
remedies, ointments, liniments, powders, 
cosmetics, and other sundries. Most of the 
material was purchased in quantity from a 
few dealers and collectors of pharmaceu- 
tical antiques. 

End of an Era: Collecting the Family Drugstore 

An unprecedented opportunity to collect 
the myriad products of the twentieth- 
century American drugstore occurred in 
1978, when the April 30 edition of the 
Sunday Charleston News and Courier and 

40 The Pharmacy Collections 

Evening Post announced: "After an era of 
grinding pharmaceutical concoctions with 
mortar and pestle for a grateful clientele, 
the Aimar brothers closed the tall doors of 
the King and Vanderhorst streets apothe- 
cary forever. It marked the end of a 
Charleston [South Carolina] landmark, a 
126-year-old family business." The contents 
of the G. W. Aimar Drug Company were 
offered to the Smithsonian. 

Over the next dozen years, as many 
family-owned drugstores disappeared in 
favor of the larger chains, the Smithsonian 
had the opportunity to collect broadly 
from small pharmacies. Among them were 
the Tupper Pharmacy of Summerville, 
South Carolina; the Reid Pharmacy of 
Clifton, Illinois; Oaklawn Pharmacy, Inc., 
of Cranston, Rhode Island; Sherman 
Pharmacy of Sherman, New York; Glaser 
Pharmacy of Sayre, Pennsylvania; Fournet 
Drugstore of Saint Martinville, Louisiana; 
and the Georgetown Pharmacy of 
Washington, D.C. 

Each collection is extensive, ranging 
from a few hundred to a thousand artifacts 
each. Some owners had stockpiled unused 
products over the years; others had 
continued to display older objects and 
preparations in order to preserve an old- 
time atmosphere. There were traditional 
prescription medicines, as well as vitamins, 
cosmetics, and sundries, ranging in time 
from the 1880s to the 1980s. They were 
particularly strong in post-World War II 
cosmetics and OTC products. The Glaser 
Pharmacy and Fournet Drugstore collec- 
tions alone contain approximately 230 
cosmetic products. Among items chosen 
for exhibition, one of the more popular 
has been the leg makeup of the World War 
11 era, used when "nylons" were unobtain- 
able. Contemporary specimens of 
cosmetics and skin care, some of which are 

Leg Silque was 
among the "tiquid 
stockings " cosmetics 
available to World 
War Il-era women 
when nylon hosiery 
was not. 

showcased in the recent exhibition About 
Faces: The Postwar Boom in Craniofacial 
Knowledge, attest to the increasingly fine 
line between cosmetics and health care 
products. New products tout the health 
benefits of vitamins and natural herbal 
ingredients as well as the cancer-preventa- 
tive benefits of sunscreens. 

Collections of vitamins and nutritional 
products have also come into their own 
since the 1980s. Prior to the 1980s, such 
items consisted of little more than samples 
from Merck & Company donated for a 
vitamin exhibit in 1956 and a sampling of 
such popular product supplements as 
Geritol, Unicaps, One A Day, and 
Dayalets— all obtained from manufacturers 
between 1957 and 1958. In the early 1980s, 
while planning another vitamin exhibit, 
Smithsonian curators appealed to nine 
vitamin manufacturers; they responded 
with more than a hvmdred contemporary 

Diane L. Wendt and Eric W. Jentsch 41 

A lithographic 
(c. 1885) from the 
William Helfand 
Collection for 
Warner's Safe 
Cure, an 
American patent 

promised relief for 
liver and kidney 

^ ^ RecDmmended&rtrs^^lljiarteofiheGiDit^; 

vitamin and nutritional supplements. At 
the same time, the Glaser and Fournet 
drugstore collections added breadth to the 
collections with more than 110 vitamin 
products from the 1930s through 1970s. 

Diffusing Knowledge 

Over the past century, the Smithsonian has 
acquired a tremendous range of items 
related to the manufacturing and 
dispensing of drugs. But it is not enough 
to collect. It is equally important to 
dociniient the collections and make them 
accessible. Procuring business and archival 
records, conducting interviews, and 
filming manufacturers and providers have 
all become an integral part of modern 

The Boericke and Tafel collection, for 
instance, was accompanied by correspon- 
dence, records, photographs, and memora- 
bilia. Furthermore, the charming and 
effusive Gustav Tafel consented to an inter- 
view, which was filmed as he conducted a 
tour of his facility. The footage was edited 

42 The Pharmacy Collections 

into a Smithsonian documentary that aired 
as part of the "Reunions: Memories of an 
American Experience" series. 

Similarly, when Garfield & Company, a 
manufacturer of Seidlitz powders, ended 
its operations in 1980. it gave the 
Smithsonian a vast array of materials: 
product samples, blueprints, catalogs, 
business records, promotional devices, and 
some of the intricate machines that had 
packaged the powders since 1912. The 
machines were filmed in operation, and 
Julius Garfield himself agreed to be inter- 

In 1982, Parke-Davis and Company, a 
consistently generous donor, gave an 
important archival collection of laboratory 
and research notebooks dating from 1902 
to 1946. The Norwich Eaton Pharma- 
ceutical Company donation of OTC 
medications was accompanied by photo- 
graphs, trade catalogs, price lists, and 
boxes of manufacturing records. These 
materials offer invaluable insights into the 
manufacturing and business practices of 
the pharmaceutical industry. 

Advertising literature is another impor- 
tant source of information about pharma- 
cists and the practice of pharmacy. 
William Helfand, one of the premier 
collectors of medical and pharmaceutical 
ephemera, has donated to the Smithsonian 
more than one thousand assorted catalogs, 
labels, almanacs, postcards, trade cards, 
blotters, and even cartoons related to 
medical topics. Richard H. Bogard of 
Peoria, Illinois, has shared his collection of 
trade cards, toys, and grooming devices 
that advertise pharmaceutical companies. 

The rich pharmacy collections will 
continue to grow and expand as staff 
continue to collect and document the ever- 
changing pharmaceutical profession and 

Scientific Medicines 

Ramunas Kondratas 

The production of vaccines and sera in 
the latter half of the nineteenth 
century marks the start of what might be 
called the Era of Scientific Medicines. The 
development of these substances is based 
on a belief in a specific etiology of 
disease— bacterial, viral, or genetic— and on 
the use of sterile and safety-testing 
techniques, standardization of product 
strength, advanced laboratory and refriger- 
ation equipment, and sanitary manufac- 
turing facilities. Medicines produced in 
this way have also been called "ethical" 
because they stand in contrast to the 
dubious conditions under which many 
earlier over-the-counter nostrums and cure- 
alls were produced and marketed. 

The Earliest Biologies 

The Smithsonian has a strong internation- 
al collection of vaccines, sera, hormones, 
and antibiotics. A treasure is a small bottle 
of tuberculin, probably from the Charite 
Hospital in Berlin. Labeled Tiiberculinum 
kocfii, it is dated 1891 and signed by 
Libbartz, a colleague of Robert Koch's, 
who announced its discovery in 1890. 

Smallpox vaccine, of course, was the 
first biological. Although Edward Jenner 
showed in 1796 that using lymph from a 
patient with relatively benign disease of 
cowpox could provide immunity from 
smallpox, it was another century before his 
discovery would usher in scientific 

The biologies industry was launched by 
the realization that immunizing lymph 
could be extracted from inoculated calves. 

A small vial of 
kochi, dated 
1891; tuberndin, 
at first, was touted 
as a miracle cure 
for tuberadosis 
but experience 
showed it was a 
reliable diagnostic 
tool, not a cure. 

The H. K. Mulford Company of Penn- 
sylvania, one of the pioneers in the field, 
began production of biologicals in 1894. 
In 1898 it introduced both a glycerinated 
vaccine lymph in capillary "tube-points" 

Ramunas Kondratas 43 

llirt'e buttles oj thf jirst polio vaccuie developed by Jonas E. Salk and injected 
into humans. Photograph by A. Russetti. 

and the scarifiers required to administer it. 
Mulford was also one of the first U.S. 
companies to produce diphtheria and 
tetanus antitoxins, rabies vaccine, and a 
host of so-called bacterins and serobac- 
terins (killed bacteria designed to produce 
active immunity by stimulating the forma- 
tion of specific antibodies following injec- 
tion). The Smithsonian has a fine selection 
of most of the Mulford products, together 
with accompanying trade literature and 
scientific publications. 

Another historic treasure is a bottle of 
diphtheria antitoxin produced by the 
Hygienic Laboratory (precursor of the 
National Institutes of Health). Dated May 
8, 1895, it is the oldest known sample in 
the United States. The earliest commercial 
diphtheria antitoxin products packaged 
and sold in the United States by Parke- 

Davis and Company are also represented 
in the Smithsonian collection. Parke-Davis 
was the first manufacturer to receive a 
government license to produce biologies in 
the United States under the Biologies 
Control Act of 1902. 

Twentieth-Century Advances 

Two major discoveries in the 1920s— 
insulin, at the University of Toronto in 
1921-1922 and penicillin, in England in 
1928— added significantly to the growing 
armamentarium of scientific medicines. 
The Smithsonian has been at the forefront 
in recognizing and preserving those mile- 
stones. In 1930, curator Charles 
Whitebread organized the exhibit The 
Story of Insulin, for which he obtained 
many early products and related materials 
from the Eli Lilly C^ompany, first commer- 
cial manufacturer of insulin. In later years 
the Museum acquired fiasks and other 
objects from several sources documenting 
the wartime production of penicillin in the 
United States. And in 1953, Sir Alexander 
Fleming, the discoverer of penicillin, 
donated one specimen of the mold 
Penicillium notaturn, from which penicillin 
was originally made. 

The story of antibiotics, which began 
with penicillin, continued with the work of 
Selman A. Waksman, Albert Schatz, and 
others at Rutgers University. Their 
research resulted in the discovery of the 
second major antibiotic, streptomycin, in 
1943. Streptomycin was the first antibiotic 
effective against tuberculosis. 

Among objects donated to the 
Smithsonian from Waksman's laboratory 
and office are a shaking machine used for 
screening various antibiotics, copies of 
four notebook pages that describe four 
crucial experiments establishing the nature 
and effectiveness of streptomycin, a sample 

44 Scientific Medicines 

of streptomycin that was submitted to the 
Food and Drug Administration, and an 
inocuhiting needle used to isolate and 
transfer the first strains of Streptomyces 
griseus that produced streptomycin. The 
Smithsonian also acquired from Schatz a 
sample of the fungus Streptomyces griseus, 
dated October 19, 1943. A batch of that 
material was sent to the Mayo Clinic in 
Rochester, Minnesota, for the first animal 

The early work in antibiotics is rounded 
out by donations of such materials as tetra- 
cycline from the pharmaceutical manufac- 
turer Charles Pfizer and Company, whose 
researchers helped isolate and produce it, 
and some Petri dishes used by botanist 
Benjamin M. Daggar who, while working 
for Lederle Laboratories, developed 
aureomycin in 1948. 

From Artificial Respiration to Vaccine 

The story of poliomyelitis can be told in 
several ways. One is through the efforts of 
patients and physicians to deal with the 
disease before its etiology was well estab- 
lished and a vaccine developed. That, pri- 
marily, is the story of the iron lung. 
Because severely paralyzed patients had 
great difficulty breathing on their own, 
researchers first directed their efforts 
toward developing means of artificial respi- 
ration. Philip Drinker of the Harvard 
School of Public Health helped develop 
the so-called Drinker respirator in 1929, 
which prolonged administration of 
artificial respiration for adults and chil- 
dren. The device was promptly dubbed the 
"iron lung." 

The Smithsonian is fortunate to have 
not only one of Drinker's models but also 
an improved and simplified design by John 
Haven Emerson, who donated one of his 
machines in 1941. The most recent acquisi- 

tion is the iron hmg used by disabilities 
activist, founder of the first independent 
living center, and creator of the World 
Institute on Disability, Edward V. Roberts 
(1939-1995), who contracted polio as a 
teenager and had to remain on a respirator 
for the rest of his life. 

Another way to tell the story is by 
documenting the research into the viral 
etiology of poliomyelitis and the eventual 
development of a vaccine. Thanks to a very 
generous donation by the National 
Foundation for Infantile Paralysis (NFIP) 
in 1958, the Smithsonian has a wealth of 
such resources: flasks used by John F. 
Enders at the Harvard School of Medicine 
showing the growth of polioviruses in 
cultures of human embryonic skin and 
muscle tissues as well as a drum used by 
him for rolling test tubes containing tissue 
cultures; the first page of Jonas E. Salk's 
application to the NFIP for a grant to 
develop a polio vaccine; a syringe and 
three bottles of the first vaccines given by 
Salk to humans; twelve vials of the 1954 
NFIP field trial vaccine; an NFIP record 
card of Randall Kerr, the first child vacci- 
nated; and an IBM punchcard used during 
the trials to record essential information 
about each child vaccinated. 

And the donations relating to this 
momentous discovery continue. In 
November, 1997, the Smithsonian received 
twelve original photographs of polio 
growing in cells, a gift from Frederick C. 
Robbins, who together with Enders and 
Thomas H. Weller won a Nobel Prize in 
1954 for their work on polio. Samples of 
the attenuated Sabin-type oral poliovirus 
vaccines round out the collection. As 
member nations of the World Health 
Organization mount an international 
campaign to eradicate polio— as they did 
with smallpox— the Smithsonian will be 

Ramunas Kondratas 45 

An array of smallpox-related artifacts: (clockwise from lower left) a steel bifurcated vaccinating needle; an early 
nineteenth-century, silver scab-carrying case; two scarificators; a package of ghcerinaled vaccine lymph in capillary 
"tubepoinU"; and, vaccination shields. Photograph by A. Russetti. 

iherc to document the achievement and 
preserve it for future generations. 

The development of scientific medicines 
has increased markedly since the 1950s. 
However exciting the possibility, collecting 
comprehensively is a most difficult 
challenge. To date, the Institution has 

focused attention on the development of 
chemotherapeutic agents, AIDS-related 
drugs, and the new class of genetically- 
engineered medicines. 

46 Scientific Medicines 

Sopona and the 
Bifurcated Needle 

On December 9, 1979, the World Health 
Organization (WHO) announced the single 
greatest achievement in medical history— the 
global eradication of smallpox— medicine's only 
total victory over a human disease. The story 
began in 1966, when the world's smallpox 
incidence was about fifteen million new cases 
annually, of which some two million died. 
Donald A. Henderson, assigned from the 
Centers for Disease Control to head the WHO 
campaign, had to face the fact that no human 
disease had ever been completely eliminated, 
that most authorities thought the task impos- 
sible, and that there was no basis for either a 
time plan or budget. Further, besides the 
medical circumstances, Cold War politics 
militated against international cooperation for 
even the greatest humanitarian goals. 

Since smallpox spread only one way, person to 
person, and those who contracted the virus 
either died or developed lifelong immunity, 
WHO field workers targeted every district where 
outbreaks existed for vaccination campaigns. 
That plan turned huge areas into virtual islands, 
which the vaccinators then could narrow down 
further, finally to individuals. Incredibly, in only 
six years, the campaign succeeded in ridding 
smallpox from the Americas. By 1975, Asia was 
clear, and on October 26, 1977, the last case was 
found in Africa. In all, smallpox eradication 
took ten years and nine months, at a cost of 
about $100 million. This colossal achievement 
brings to mind Churchill's remark, though on a 
much greater scale, that "never has so much 
been owed by so many to so few." 

Among the Smithsonian's large collection of 
objects illustrating the smallpox eradication story, 
one of the most culturally interesting is a statue of 
the smallpox god Sopona, who symbolized a 

warrior, hunter, 
musician, and 
philosopher to 
the west Afri- 
can Yoruba 
people. More 
strictly medical 
items include a 
jet vaccinator, 
an assortment 
of public 

health signs 
and posters, a 
box of Dryvax 
vaccinia vaccine 
from 1963), 
and a variola- 
tor's mortar, 
pestle, and scab 

Afigiirine of Sopona, god of smallpox 
to West African Y'oniba people. 

Of special significance in this history of 
medicine is a small dispenser of bifurcated vacci- 
nation needles. Invented by Benjamin A. Rubin 
in 1968 and manufactured by Wyeth 
Laboratories in Philadelphia, the bifurcated 
needle proved to be essential to the eradication 
of smallpox. When the forked end of the needle 
was dipped into the vaccine, one drop (enough 
for a single vaccination) was caught between the 
prongs. The vaccinator would then rapidly prick 
the skin with the needle about fifteen times. 
Because Rubin's bifurcated needle used only a 
quarter as much vaccine as older models, its use, 
in effect, quadrupled the vaccine supply. 
Vaccinators could be trained in minutes, and the 
needles could be sterilized and reused. A single 
field worker could carry out as many as fifteen 
hundred vaccinations in a day. Considering what 
this tiny, simple device accomplished, the bifur- 
cated needle certainly ranks among the most 
important medical implements of all time. 

G. Terry Sharrer 

Ramunas Kondratas 47 

Till' dress urufonn oj Surgeon General Hugh S. Cummmg u featured in this exhibition conunenwratmg the centennial of the 
National Institutes of Health. At left foreground is a surgical set belonging to John Maynard Woodworth, first Surgeon-General of 
the U.S. Public Health Service; at right foreground is a Jarvik-7 heart pump. 

Public Health Collections 

Patricia Peck Gossel 

Public health can be interpreted very 
broadly. The Smithsonian collections 
encompass all sorts of artifacts that 
provided for the public's health. Smallpox 
vaccine and more recent vaccines and 
biologicals— all well represented in our 
pharmacy collections— have been used to 
protect people from contagious diseases 
since the colonial period. Our engineering 
collections have a rich store of artifacts, 
blueprints, and archives documenting the 
introduction of municipal water and 
sewage treatment. Here, I will focus on two 
sets of disparate artifacts: U.S. Public 
Health Service (USPHS) items and contra- 
ceptive items. 

Few aspects of rural or urban life in the 
United States have not been touched by 
federal public health services. But the 
roots of that activity can actually be found 
in public funding for health care services 
for merchant seamen. 

Early Public Health History 

For most of the nineteenth century, the 
Marine Hospital Service was a motley 
combination of hospitals built with govern- 
ment funds and contract services managed 
by customs collectors and politicians. In 
1869, Treasury Secretary George S. 
Bout well commissioned John Shaw Billings 
to inspect the marine hospitals. Billings, 
who had made his reputation in public 
health by overseeing the construction of 
hospitals for the Union Army during the 
Civil War, reported that of the original 
thirty-one hospitals only nine still 

John Maynard Woodworth was 
appointed the first Supervising Surgeon of 
the Marine Hospital Service in April 1871. 
Using a military model, Woodworth made 
the Marine Hospital Service a broad and 
efficient public health provider. In 1887, 
the Marine Hospital Service opened a 
Hygienic Laboratory (for enforcing 
quarantines) on Staten Island under the 
direction of John J. Kinyoun. It is consid- 
ered the first federal public health labora- 
tory and is the precursor of today's 
National Institutes of Health. 

The Smithsonian holds a small but very 
important group of artifacts related to the 
early Marine Hospital Service. Some were 
on display at Ellis Island in 1996. The 
collection includes Woodworth's surgical 
instrument case, a Zeiss microscope said to 
have been used by Kinyoun, several 
reagent bottles, a ship's bell used on 
quarantine vessels in the 1890s, and the 
yellow cloth quarantine flag flown from 
quarantine launches in the same period. 

The highlight of the Marine Hospital 
Service artifacts is a sample of diphtheria 
antitoxin made at the Hygienic Laboratory 
on March 8, 1895. Kinyoun had learned to 
make diphtheria antitoxin from Emil Roux 
at the Pasteur Institute in 1894. The 
Smithsonian's holding may be the oldest 
extant sample of diphtheria antitoxin 
manufactured in the United States. 

A model of the Coast Guard cutter 
U.S.S. Bear is another USPHS donation. 
The U.S.S. Bear, served by a long series of 
USPHS officers, was known for its Arctic 
voyages. In 1932 it was refitted for the 

Patricia Peck Gossel 49 

Antarctic expedition led by Rear Admiral 
Richard E. Bvrd. It was retired in 1944. 

Public Health Uniforms 

Uniforms associated with various aspects 
of public health are well represented in the 
collections. In 1926, the Museum acquired 
the full-dress uniform and cape worn by 
William C. Gorgas, who became Surgeon 
General of the U.S. Army in 1914. Gorgas 
directed sanitary campaigns against the 
yellow fever mosquito— first in Havana and 
later in the Canal Zone— and is credited 
with the health reforms that enabled 
completion of the Panama Canal. 

Uniforms for several ranks of USPHS 
officers are in the collection. Among the 
more contemporary are a 1970s-era 
woman's dress white USPHS uniform, the 
dress uniform of Surgeon General C. 
Everett Koop (who spurred the Reagan 
administration to support research on 
AIDS), and that of his Deputy Surgeon 
General, Faye G. Abdellah, a pioneer in 
nursing research. 

Other artifacts include: 

The uniform worn in 1905 by Joseph H. 
White, who that year, in New Orleans, had 
directed what would be the last campaign 
against epidemic yellow fever in the conti- 
nental United States; 

A World War I captain's uniform that 
belonged to Hugh S. Gumming, who 
served as Surgeon General from 1920 to 
1936 under five Presidents (Woodrow 
Wilson, Warren Harding, Calvin Coolidge, 
Herbert Hoover, and Franklin D. 

The 1914 dress uniform of an assistant 
surgeon in the Public Health Service worn 
by Louis Laval Williams, a specialist in 
malaria control who was a U.S. delegate to 
the 1946 International Health Conference 
in New York at which the World Health 

Organization was created; 

The summer and winter cadet nurses 
uniforms worn during World War II by a 
member of the Army Nurse Corps while 
she was in a special USPHS-sponsored 
training program at Mercy Hospital, 

A particularly interesting uniform is one 
worn by Mary Breckinridge, who founded 
the Frontier Nursing Service in rural 
Kentucky in 1925. Her twenty trained 
nurses roamed the rural Kentucky hill 
country on horseback, providing health 
care and delivering babies. A pair of 
mklwifery saddlebags used by a frontier 
nurse is on display in an exhibit on 
woman's suffrage called Parlor to Politics. 
These public health uniforms are part of a 
larger collection that includes medical 
corps and Red Cross uniforms from World 
Wars I and II, nurses' imiforms, lab coats, 
and smgical clothing. 


Contraception, once a very private matter, 
became part of U.S. federal public health 
policy in the late 1960s and became an 
urgent issue of disease control with the 
identification of AIDS in the 1980s. 
Federally-funded public health services 
expanded to include the distribution of 
birth control devices domestically as well 
as abroad. The Office of Population of the 
U.S. Agency for International Develop- 
ment has become the world's largest 
purchaser of contraceptive devices as 
family planning gained credibility both as 
a way to slow world population growth and 
as a way to improve the health of women 
and children in developing countries. 

The National Museum of American 
History has developed an important and 
diverse collection of contraceptives, inter- 
national in scope, since the 1980s. It 

50 Public Health Collections 


Julius Schmid, 
Inc. began 
making natural 
rubber condoms 
around 1920. 
Their Sheik brand 
I iindoms 
(luminaled the 
market in the 
western United 
States and in 
Canada in the 

contains more than three hundred contra- 
ceptives, inchiding pessaries, diaphragms, 
condoms, creams, foams, oral contracep- 
tives, intrauterine devices, and feminine 
hygiene products. The largest donations 
came from the Margaret Sanger Center in 
New York City, the Fournet Drugstore in 
Baton Rouge, and Lester D. Johnson, a 
Fairfax, Virginia, gynecologist. Among the 
more unusual acquisitions are condom 
vending machines and decals from vender 
Nolan Panisiak, who calls himself "Mr. 
Condom." Since the Division has begun to 
focus more effort on documenting the 
history of AIDS, materials such as 
condoms and AIDS prevention pamphlets 
and posters have been added. 

The scope of the contraceptive collec- 









r~ ^flH| 

Ortho-noxmm SQ 
oral contraceptive 
in a Dialpak ™. 
The container 
includes a window 
that shows the day 
of the week to 
remind a woman 
if she had taken 
her pill. 

Patricia Peck Gossel 51 

tion was significantly enriched with 
research for a case study on the birth 
control pill, which became part of the 1994 
Science in American Life exhibition. The 
Worcester Foundation for Experimental 
Biology donated the laboratory equipment 
used by Gregory Pincus and Min Chu 
Chang dining their original physiological 
research into what became known world- 
wide as the Pill. That donation includes a 
vial of progesterone in gelatin capsules 
used in clinical trials in Puerto Rico and 
rare samples of progesterones sent by 
pharmaceutical companies to the labora- 
tory in the 1950s for testing of contracep- 
tive properties. 

Recently, the Museum acquired the 
design prototypes for the packaging of the 
oral contraceptive. The dial pack is consid- 
ered the first such container designed to 
help a person remember when to take a 
prescription drug. A large supplementary 
collection of contraceptive-related 
ephemera and trade literature, including 
files kept by Syntex Corporation of their 
competitors' advertisements, has made this 
collection very popular with historians. 

This pre-AIDSera vending macliine promoted condoms 
for protection against venereal diseases. 

52 Public Health Collections 

Laboratory Apparatus 

Patricia Peck Gossel 

Since the 1980s, there has been a 
concerted effort to document the tools 
and instruments used in medical research 
and diagnostic laboratories. Four 
Smithsonian collections— medicine, 
chemistry, physical sciences, and biology- 
contain apparatus relevant to the medical 
laboratory. The chemistry and biology 
collections, for example, contain large and 
comprehensive collections of balances, 
centrifuges, spectrophotometers, pH 
meters, and chromatography and 
electrophoresis apparatus. 


Although the Museum's collection of 
several hundred American and European 
microscopes dates back to the early 
eighteenth century, special priority is given 
to American microscopes or those with 
strong American associations. One of the 
earliest microscopes made by the Spencer 
Lens Company of Buffalo, New York, was 
added to the collection in 1990. It is a 
Pritchard-style, single pillar with a tripod 
base, made by Charles A. Spencer between 
1849 and 1859. His high-quality objective 
lenses placed American instruments on an 
equal footing with European microscopes 
and marked a turning point for American 
microscope manufacturing. 

A large collection of nineteenth-century 
books on microscopy was donated by 
Oscar W. Richards, resident biologist for 
the Spencer Lens Company (later 
American Optical Company) in the 1930s 
and 1940s. His correspondence and refer- 
ence files held in the Museum's Archives 

Stanley Cohen 's "scribble book " records his 1973 cloning experiment, which 
helped mark the beginnings of recombinant DNA technology and genetic 
engineering. The notebook, timer, test tubes, flasks, and pipette cases are part 
of the apparatus collected from his laboratory for the 1987 exhibition The 
Search for Life: Genetic Technologies in the 20th Century, 

Center document many facets of 

Bacteriology and Molecular Biology 

A circa-1900 bacteriology laboratory was 
re-created as a museum exhibit with forty 
pieces of turn-of-the-century bacteriology 
apparatus from the laboratory of Frederick 
G. Novy, a University of Michigan bacteri- 
ologist known for his work on syphilis and 
trypanosomiasis. Current collecting efforts 
are being directed at building a collection 
of the apparatus used for molecular 

Patricia Peck Gossel 53 

biology and the study of DNA. The goal is 
lo dociiincnt the evolution of the principal 
instruments used to separate and analyze 
biological molecules. Among existing 
highlights are one of Theodore Svedberg's 
centrifuge rotors, a Model E Ultra- 
Centrifuge (serial number 3), the Spinco 
Model H electrophoresis instrument, and a 
prototype LKB 9000, which was the first 
combined gas chromatograph and mass 
spectrometer that could be used to analyze 
the chemical structure of biological 

Collecting the Technology of Tomorrow 

Smithsonian curators pay close attention to 
the development of new instrumentation 
so that prototype instruments can be 
collected. Since the doctors, scientists, and 
engineers who built the prototypes are still 
working and the instruments are still being 

Barbara McClinlock won the Nobel Prize in 19H3 for 
her discovery of moveable genes in Indian Corn. This 
work was depicted in the 1987 Search for Life exhibit 
(left). The ears of corn and the Bausch & Lomb 
dissecting microscope (above) were collected from her 
laboratory at Cold Spring Harbor ijt 1993. 

made, interviews and videohistories can be 
used to document an instrument's concep- 
tion, design, manufacture, and use. 
Another big advantage is that commercial 
instruments can be obtained in like-new 
condition, and trade literature and opera- 
tion manuals are easily acquired. 

Two examples of important mid-1980s 
technologies acquired by Smithsonian 
cmators through this approach are three 
prototypes of the "gene gun" (a DNA 
transfer system that shoots DNA-coated 
pellets into host cells) and two prototype 
thermal cyclers used in the polymerase 
chain reaction (PCR) technique that multi- 
plies strands of DNA. Ray Kondratas 
filmed the manufacture of the thermal 
cycler and conducted lengthy videotaped 
interviews with Kary B. Mullis, who 
received the 1993 Nobel Prize in 

54 Laboratory Apparatus 

Chemistry for developing the PCR 

Commemorating Pioneering Chemists and 
Their Laboratories 

Several Smithsonian collections preserve 
the full array of apparatus and instrumen- 
tation used by a single scientist. Illustrative 
are the laboratory bench, cupboards, and 
apparatus used at Stanford University by 
Stanley Cohen, who, with Herbert Boyer, 
developed the recombinant-DNA proce- 
dure and started the biotechnology revolu- 
tion. That equipment was collected for The 
Search for Life: Genetic Technologies in the 
20th Century exhibition in 1987 and is now 
featured in Science in American Life. The 
hood, microscope, glassware, and shakers 
used by Min Chu Chang during his 
pioneering physiology studies of in vitro 
fertilization are in the biological sciences 
collection, as is a collection of laboratory 
and field apparatus that Barbara 
McClintock used in the corn genetics 
research that residtcd in the 1983 Nobel 
Prize in Physiology or Medicine. 

Instruments crucial to the medical 
diagnostic laboratory are also being 
documented. The medical sciences collec- 
tion has the prototype and first commercial 
version of the Technicon AutoAnalyzer, 
built in 1957. It was the first apparatus to 
automate the analysis of blood chemistry, 
thereby inaugurating the drive to automate 
the clinical diagnostic laboratory. Equally 
significant is the workhorse of the 
hematology laboratory since the 1960s, an 
early Coulter Counter, which electronically 
counts red and white blood cells and 

Historians of science are finding that 
laboratory practice profoundly influences 
the development of scientific ideas. The 
Museum's scientific instrument collections 

"Mr. Cycle" is the prototype of the PCR thermal cycler. 
It automatically pipettes an enzyme into test tubes of 
DNA, and heats and cools it to induce the DNA to copy 
itself in the polymerase chain reaction (PCR). "Mr. 
Cycle" was built in 1985 for Kary Mullis, who won the 
Nobel Prize in 1993 for discovering PCR, the 
technique which allows researchers to amplify quickly 
and automatically small amounts of DNA into quanti- 
ties sufficient for a variety of genetic work, including 
DN.A fingerprinting and genonif mapping. 

document many of these changes. As 
medical diagnosis has moved into the 
laboratory, instruments once confined to 
research have become commonplace in the 
hospital. For example, such research 
techniques as PCR have revolutionized the 
identification of pathogens by bringing the 
power of recombinant DNA science into 
the diagnostic laboratory. By collecting 
prototype instruments for these new 
techniques and fully documenting their 
design and manufacture, museinn collec- 
tions can provide powerful new sources of 
information about the transition from 
scientific research to medical practice. 

Patricia Peck Gossel 55 

Molecular Medicine: Collecting a 
Revolution in Progress 

G. Terry Sharrer 

On September 14, 1990, physicians at 
the National Institutes of Health 
carried out the first authorized gene 
therapy cUnical trial on a four-year-old girl, 
Ashanthi V. DeSilva, who suffered from a 
rare monogenic disorder— Severe Com- 
bined Immune Deficiency (SCID), more 
popularly known as "Bubble Boy disease." 
Four months later, a second SCID child, 
Cindy M. Cutshall, was treated. 

With repeated infusions of their own 
genetically-corrected cells over the next 
several years, both patients enjoyed 
improved health. Even while those treat- 
ments were in progress, protocols for such 
hereditary diseases as acquired immune 
deficiency, autoimmune diseases, and 
cancer won approval for clinical trials. By 
late 1997, a total of 204 human gene 
transfer experiments had been authorized, 
enrolling about two thousand patients. 

Gene therapy and molecular medicine are 
not synonymous terms, but the original 
gene therapy clinical trial in 1990 was a 
culmination of several historical concepts 
on which molecular medicine is based— 
"molecular disease," "inborn errors of 
metabolism," "one gene-one enzyme," 
"the double helix," "recombinant DNA," 
"genome mapping," and "transgenic 
vectors." Scientifically, molecular medicine 
integrates the disciplines of cell biology 
and regulation, genetics, immunology, 
structural biology, and neuroscience. Of 
course, each field is enormous in itself; a 
quick Internet search under the term 


Je oe 

I3cx(i Gene 

(300 c3i Gene 

Cindy M. Cutshall, who was successfully treated with 
gene therapy, drew this picture of her condition and 
presented it to the Smithsonian. 

"Molecular Medicine" would yield nearly a 
million documents. 

The Museum's molecular medicine 
collection is composed of three categories: 
the basic sciences, genetic technologies, 
and clinical applications. 

The Basic Sciences 

The first major collecting initiative came in 
1987, when the exhibition The Search for 
Life: Genetic Technologies in the 20th Century 
opened. Especially notable among the 
accessions were several brass base pair 
templates from James Watson's and 
Francis Crick's original DNA model. As 
Watson wrote in The Double Helix: "Only a 
little encouragement was needed to get the 
final soldering accomplished in the next 

56 Molecular Medicine: Collecting a Revolution in Progress 

couple of hours. The brightly shining 
metal plates were then immediately used to 
make a model in which for the first time all 
the DNA components were present."' 

A key clue for matching the correct 
forms of adenine and thymine or guanine 
and cytosine came from American crystal- 
lographer Jerry Donohue, who worked in 
the same laboratory as Watson and Crick. 
After the double helix research was 
published in Nature,- Donohue kept the 
model templates as souvenirs. Later, he 
returned to the United States and took a 
position at the Fox Chase Comprehensive 
Cancer Center in Philadelphia. Shortly 
before his death, Donohue gave the 
templates to his friend and fellow ciystallo- 
grapher Helen Berman, who presented 
them to the Smithsonian in 1988. 

Other highlights of the basic sciences 
group are a counter-current distributor 
identical to the one Robert W. Holley used 
in isolating the first transfer RNA in 1961 
(donated by the Colorado School of 
Mines); a centrifuge from Marshall W. 
Nirenberg's work in deciphering the 
genetic code (a gift of the National 
Institutes of Health); and the first fluores- 
cence-activated cell sorter, developed in 
1973 and used in numerous studies for 
analyzing, sorting, and cloning cells 
(donated in 1988 by the Genetics 
Department of Stanford University, 
through Leonard Herzenberg). 

Recently, the automated amino acid 
analyzer built by Stanford Moore and 
William H. Stein at Rockefeller University 
in 1958 in order to determine the primary 
structure of ribonuclease was added to the 
collection. The Moore-Stein analyzer 
complements another innovation devel- 
oped at Rockefeller University— Bruce 
Merrifield's peptide sequencer, which he 
donated to the Smithsonian in 1987. 

Infusion bag from the first gene therapy clinical trial, September 14, 199U, 
and syringe from the first bone marrow stem cell gene therapy trial. May 3, 

Holley, Nirenberg, Moore, Stein, and 
Merrifield all won Nobel Prizes for their 

Genetic Technologies 

The genetic technologies collections have 
also benefitted from the outstanding gen- 
erosity of leading scientists. Stanley N. 
Cohen contributed not only most of the 
original equipment used in his recombi- 
nant DNA research at his Stanford 
University laboratory but also the patent 
certificate (dated December 2, 1980) issued 
to him and Herbert Boyer at the University 
of California at San Francisco, for their 
"molecular chimeras" process. In one labo- 
ratory notebook, Cohen first describes his 
ideas for cutting and recombining DNA 
fragments, titled "Outline for Recom- 
bination Paper." 

Perhaps the most important technical 
development in molecular genetics after 
recombinant DNA was the polymerase 

G. Terry Sharrer 57 

One of several isolation units built for David Vetter (1971-1984), 
the so-called "Boy in the Bubble. " 

chain reaction (PCR) that Cetus 
Corporation biochemist Kary B. MulHs 
introduced in 1985. The PCR technique 
has allowed researchers to amplify quickly 
and automatically small amounts of DNA 
into quantities sufficient for a variety of 
genetic work, including genome mapping. 
"Mr. Cycle" and "Son of Son of Cycle" are 
two PCR prototypes developed by the 
Cetus Corporation and donated to the 
Smithsonian in 1993. 

Of unique interest is a homemade PCR 
robot built by Kenneth Kinzler in the 
Laboratory of Molecular Genetics at the 
Johns Hopkins Oncology Center. Kinzler 
used his robot in the discovery of the so- 
called p53 gene— a DNA fragment impli- 

cated in more than half of all human 

Clinical Applications 

Perhaps the two best known stories repre- 
sented in the group of clinical applications 
are those of David Vetter (1971-1984), the 
"Bubble Boy," and the first gene therapy 
clinical trial. 

In 1986, the Museum acquired a mobile 
support vehicle, spacesuit, bubble-shaped 
isolation units, medical literature, and 
personal memorabilia documenting 
David's struggle against SCID, a condition 
that left his body defenseless against 
disease and confined him to a sterile, 
plastic, bubble-like environment for nearly 
all of his life. David died on February 22, 
1984, following an unsuccessful bone 
marrow transplant, an attempt to provide 
his body with the capacity to make its own 
antibodies and thus free him from the 

Both the mobile support vehicle and 
spacesuit were developed by the National 
Aeronautics and Space Administration; 
they were transferred from the Lyndon B. 
Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. 
William Shearer, David's physician, 
arranged for donation of the isolation 
units from Texas Children's Hospital and 
Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. 
David's parents gave such personal objects 
as games, toys, and drawings— all of which 
document David's lively personality as well 
as his life in the bubble. The "Bubble Boy" 
may well have been the most famous 
patient in history. 

Michael Blaese, Kenneth Culver, and W. 
French Anderson contributed several 
objects from the first gene therapy experi- 
ment—notably, the infusion bag that 
contained Ashanthi's corrected lympho- 
cytes and the syringe used to inject them. 

58 Molecular Medicine: Collecting a Revolution in Progress 

Drawings by Ashanthi and Cindy depicting 
their experiences as patients complement 
the collection. 

In 1996, Curt Civin, at the Johns 
Hopkins Medical Center, presented the 
prototype instrument that he and Alan 
Hardwick of the Baxter Healthcare 
Corporation developed to separate bone 
marrow stem cells from peripheral blood. 
In June, 1997, Civin and colleagues at 
Johns Hopkins used the Baxter isolator for 
a stem cell harvest and then carried out a 
bone marrow transplant in utero, which is 
expected to cure metachromatic leukodys- 
trophy before the child is born. 

A more extensive listing of Smithsonian 
objects relating to molecular medicine 
would include some fifty specimens of cell 
culture glassware from Wilton Earl's NIH 
laboratory, where he pioneered the 
techniques of growing human cells in the 
1950s; a large fermentation tank manufac- 
tured by Genentech, Inc. that produced 
human insulin from transgenic bacteria; 
various laboratory instruments (RCA 
electron microscope, Beckman pH meter, 
Beckman spectrophotometer, and 
microbalance); John Sanford's "gene gun," 
a biolistic device used to "shoot" foreign 
DNA into cells; and numerous pharmaceu- 
ticals—from Mustargen and other 
anticancer drugs to Humulin and recombi- 
nant Interferon Alpha. 

In process for acquisition are several 
leukopheresis machines as well as objects 
that illustrate combinatorial chemistry and 
high-throughput screening. In many 
instances, the accession files are replete 
with operating manuals, drawings, 
photographs, and video interviews. 

In spite of a gestation that arguably 
reaches back to the mid-nineteenth 
century, molecular medicine is truly a 
revolution comparable to the introduction 

of germ theory. Just as germ theory 
changed concepts of illness and ultimately 
made health a more achievable goal, 
molecular medicine holds the promise of 
treating diseases at or near their points of 
origin rather than at the distant manifesta- 
tion of symptoms. And since health 
influences all other hopes and achieve- 
ments, molecular medicine is indeed a 
fruitful field for museum collecting. 


I.James D. Watson, The Double Helix: A 
Personal Account of the Discovery of the Structure of 
DNA. Norton Critical Edition, Gunther S. Stent, 
ed. (New York: W. W. Norton, 1980), 117. 
Reference is given to the Norton Critical Edition 
because the volume is a rich source of additional 

2. J. D. Watson and F. H. C. Crick, "A 
Structure for Deoxyribose Nucleic Acid,'" Nature 
(April 25, 1953): 737-38. 

G. Terry Sharrer 59 

View of the stacks in The Dibner Library of the History of Science 
and Technology on the first floor of the National Museum of 
American History. This rare book library was established in 1976 
with a generous gift from inventor, entrepreneur, and collector 
Dr. Bern Dibner and includes major holdings of rare materials in 
.science, technology, medicine, natural history, and anthropology, 
dating from the 15th to the 20th centuries. 

60 Select Bibliography 

Select Bibliography 

compiled by Philip D. Spiess II 

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Bulletins of the United States National Museum. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution, 

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Thomson, Peggy. Museum People: Collectors and Keepers at the Smithsonian. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: 

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Health and Medical Sciences Collections, 1881-1964 

Blake, John B. "Dental History and the Sniilhsonian Institution." yoMrnn/ of the American College of 

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Sciences \5 (1960): 3\-44. 
Flint, James M. "Classification and Arrangement of the Materia Medica Collection." Proceedings of 

the United States National Museum 4 (1881): App., no. 6. 
. "Classification of the Materia Medica Collection of the United States National Museum, and 

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. "Directions for Collecting Information and Objects Illustrating the Histor)- of Medicine." 

Bulletin of the United States National Museum 39 (1905): Pt. S. 
. "Memoranda for Collectors of Drugs for the Materia Medica Section of the National 

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Foley, Matlhew O. "Smithsonian Institution Devotes Much Space to Hospital Exhibit." Hospital 

Management 27 (April 1929): 43-44 ff. 
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Smithsonian Institution for the Year Ending June 30, 1954, 427-44. Washington, D.C.: U.S. 

Government Printing Office, 1956. 
Griffenhagen, George B. "The Apothecai7 Jar: An Historical Sketch of Drug Containers Through 

die Ages." Science Counselor 22 (June 1959): 41-44, 68-69. 

. "The Ceramic Apothecary Jar." American Professional Pharmacist 22 (1956): 890-95, 916-17. 

. "Drug Supplies in the American Revolution." United States National Museum Bulletin 225: 

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. "The Medical Lore of the Spoon." Spinning Wheel 15 (Oct. 1959): 18-19, 35. 

. "New Hall of Health at the Smithsonian Institution." Bulletin of the History of Medicine 32 

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. "Pharmaceutical Glassware." Spinning Wheel 13 (Oct. 1957): 24-25, 32. 

. "Poison Bottles and Safety Closures." /ourwa/ of the American Pharmaceutical Association, n.s. 1 

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at the U.S. National Museum." The Museologist 64 (Sept. 1957). 
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Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1956. 
Griffenhagen, George B., and James Harvey Young. "Old English Patent Medicines in America." 

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updating) in Pharmacy m History 34, no. 4 (1992): 199-230. 
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of the American Pharmaceutical Association, n.s., 2 (1962): 478-79. 
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. "For the Collector: Facts and Artifacts." Pharmacy in History 6 (1961): 48. 

. "Historical and Educational Exhibits on Dentistry at the Smithsonian Institution. "yoMraoi of the 

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[Klein, Allen] "He Directs Pharmacy Exhibits at the Smithsonian Institution." Modem Pharmacy 25 

(July 1941): 20-21. 
Lewton, Frederick L. "A National Pharmaceutical Collection. "/oi/raa/ of the American Pharmaceutical 

Association 8 (1919): 44-47. 
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McGill, Frederick A. "Optometry Exhibit at the Smithsonian Institution." Optical Journal and Review 

of Optometry 59 (March 1927); 31-32. 

Philip D. Spiess II 63 

"New Dental Exhibit at the Smithsonian Institution." yoi/ma/ of the American Dental Association 66 

(1963): 676-78. 
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26 (1937): 918-28. 
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£rfi/ion 3 (1942): 268-74. 
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Museum." Proceedings of the U.S. National Museum 67 (1926): art. 10. 
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(1936): 1005-1009. 
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(1933): 1140-45. 
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64 Select Bibliography 

Health and Medical Sciences Collections, 1964-1997 

Davis, Audrey B. "The Better to Hear You With: Announcing the Greibach Donation." Washington, 

D.C.: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of History and Technology, Division of Medical 

Sciences [ca. 1988]. Brochure. 
. The Dentist and His Tools. In the Smithsonian series. Washington, D.C.: National Museum of 

History and Technology [ca. 1975]. 
. "The Development of Anesthesia: Techniques of Controlling Pain Transformed the Practice 

of Nineteenth-Century Medicine, Particularly Surgery and Dentistry." American Scientist 70 

(Sept.-Oct. 1982): 522-28. 

. "Historical Studies of Medical Instruments." History of Science 16 (1978): 107-33. 

. "The History of the Health Sciences at the National Museum of American History." Caduceus: 

A Museum Journal for Medicine and the Health Sciences 4, no. 2 (Summer 1988): 58-71. 
. Medicine and Its Technology: An Introduction to the History of Medical Instrumentation. Westport, 

Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1981. 
. "Rudolf Schindler's Role in the Development of Gastroscopy." Bulletin of the History of Medicine 

46, no. 2 (Mar.-Apr. 1972): 150-70. 

. "Treasures of the Smithsonian: Medical Collectibles." Physician East (Apr. 1980): 17-20. 

. Triumph Over Disability: The Development of Rehabilitation Medicine in the U.S.A. Washington, 

D.C.: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of History and Technology, 1973. Catalog was 

prepared in conjunction with the exhibit Triumph Oi'er Disability. 
Davis, Audrey B., and Mark S. Dreyfuss. The Finest Instruments Ever Made: A Bibliography of Medical, 

Dental, Optical, and Pharmaceutical Company Trade Literature; 1700-1939. Arlington, Mass.: Medical 

Histoid Publishing Associates 1, 1986. 
Davis, Audrey [B.], and Toby Appel. Bloodletting Instruments in the National Museum of History and 

Technology. Smithsonian Studies in History and Technology, No. 41. Washington, D.C.: 

Smithsonian Institution Press, 1979. 
Davis, Audrey B., and Uta C. Merzbach. Early Auditory Studies: Activities in the Psychology Laboratories 

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Philip D. Spiess II 65 

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Philip D. Spiess II 67 


JUDY M. CHELNICK is the Museum Specialist for 
medical and dental instrumentation in the 
Division of Science, Medicine and Society at the 
National Museum of American History. Prior 
to her appointment with the Smithsonian 
Institution she was the Assistant Curator at the 
Dittrick Museum of Medical History in 
Cleveland, Ohio. Ms. Chelnick received a B.A. 
from William Smith College and M.A. from 
Case Western Reserve University. Currently she 
is researching the history of the Bristol-Myers 
Squibb Eighteenth Century European 
Apothecary in Europe and the United States. 

PATRICIA PECK GOSSEL came to the National 
Museum of American History as Curator of the 
-biologic;il sciences collections in 1988. She had 
ten years experience as a medical technologist, 
clinical bacteriologist, and electron micro- 
scopist before earning a Ph.D. in History of 
Science from the Johns Hopkins University in 
1988. Her research interests include the history 
of American bacteriology laboratories and 
20th-century laboratory apparatus. Most 
recently she has written on the history of oral 
contraceptive packaging. 

ERIC W. JENTSCH began working for the 
Division of Science, Medicine and Society as a 
Museum Technician after the completion of his 
master's degree in Museum Studies from the 
George Washington University in the spring of 
1996. He graduated from St. Louis University 
in 1993, with bachelor's degrees in History and 
English Literature. 

RAMUNAS KONDRATAS has been Curator of the 
medical collections since 1977 when he joined 
the Smithsonian after receiving his Ph.D. in the 
History of Science from Harvard University. He 
has chaired the Division of Science, Medicine 
and Society and is currently the Acting 
Assistant Director and Head Curator of the 
History Department at the National Museum of 

American History (NMAH). He has published 
on the history of the biomedical sciences, 
pharmacy, and public health as well as 
conducted numerous oral and videohistories 
documenting the development of biomedical 

KATHERINE OTT is the Landmarks Professor of 
American History at NMAH and American 
University, where she teaches courses in the 
history of the modern body, material and visual 
culture, and public history and museums. She is 
the author of Fevered Lives: Tuberculosis in 
American Culture Since 187U (Harvard, 1996) 
and is working on a book (also with Harvard 
University Press) on the intersection of the 
material culture of illness, medical technology 
and understanding of the body in the 
nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Her other 
on-going project is a histor)' of ophthalmology, 
vision, and visuality in America, making exten- 
sive use of the NMAH ophthalmology- 
optometric collections. 

G. TERRY SHARRER is the Curator of health 
sciences at the National Museum of American 
History, where he has worked for twenty-eight 
years. He holds a Ph.D. in History from the 
University of Maryland and has authored some 
three dozen publications. His cunent research 
interests focus on cancer epidemiology' and the 
history of molecular medicine. He has done 
video docuinentaries on the Human Genome 
Project, the begfinning of gene therapy, and the 
molecular biology of cancer. He also runs the 
monthly public lecture series on Science in 
American Life. 

PHILIP D. SPIESS II is a veteran of thirty-three 
years in museums, holds an M.A. in history 
from Universit)' of Delaware, and first worked 
at the Cincinnati Historical Society. Receiving 
training from Delaware's Hagley Fellowship 
Program in Historical Administration, he 

68 Contributors 

worked for the New York State Historical 
Association. Becoming Research Coordinator 
of the National Trust for Historic Preservation 
in Washington, D.C., he went on to establish 
the Mary Washington College program in 
Historic Preser\'ation and Museum Studies as 
well as its Center for Historic Preservation. 
Spiess then headed the Smithsonian 
Institution's Kellogg Project in Museum 
Education, a national effort to increase the 
educational role of museums. Since 1984 he 
has been Associate Professorial Lecturer in 
Museum Studies at George Washington 
University; has also worked with museums at 
the National Institutes of Health, Johns 
Hopkins Medical Archives, the National 
Museum of Dentistry, and the Smithsonian 
Institution. He is completing a doctorate in 
Nineteenth-Century Studies at Drew University. 

DIANE L. WENDT is a Museum Specialist in the 
Division of Science, Medicine and Society at the 
National Museum of American History. Prior 
to coming to the Division in 1996, she worked 
in collections management, administration and 
registrarial services. She is a graduate of the 
College of William and Mary. 

Picture Credits 

All photographs courtesy of the Smithsonian 
Institution's National Museum of American 

Cover illustration: Representative objects from 
some of the major collecting areas, such as 
(clockwise from the upper left) public health, 
medicine, pharmacy, and dentistry. 
Photographs by A. Russetti 

Caduceus is produced for the Department of 
Medical Humanities by the Division of 
Biomedical Communications, Southern Illinois 
University School of Medicine. 

Linda Clark Ragel, Designer 

Contributors 69 


James T. H. Connor 
Hannah Institute Jot the History 
of Medicine 

Glen W. Davidson 

New Mexico Highlands University 

M. Patricia Donahue 

College of Nursing 
University of Iowa 

James M. Edmonson 

Dittrick Medical History Center 
Cleiieland Health Scinues Library 

Christopher Hoolihan 
Edward G. Miner Library 
University of Rochester 

Joel D. HoweU 

Clinical Scholars Program 

University of Michigan 

Ramunas Kondratas 
National Museum of American 

Smithsonian Institution 

Adrianne Noe 

National Museum of Health and 

Gretchen Worden 
Mutter Museum 
College of Physicians of 

Caduceus. a pubhcation ot the Department of Medical Humanities, Southern Illinois 
University School of Medicine, is abstracted or indexed by America: History and Life, 
Current Works in the History of Medicine, Historical Abstracts, Index Medicus. Modern 
Language Association International Bibliography of Books and Articks, Center for Agriculture 
and Biosciences International, and Medline. Cadmeus is printed on acid-free paper. 

Editorial communications and requests for back issues should be addressed to: 
CADUCEUS, The Department of Medical Humanities-1113, Southern Illinois University 
School of Medicine, P.O. Box 19230, Springfield, IL 62794-1113. Phone (217) 782-4261; 
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